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Funky Dorey

Posted by Lewis on October 06, 2003

In Reply to: Meaning of a couple of short phrases posted by hector cane on October 05, 2003

: 1: 'a wild piece of goods' referring to a young girl coming out of her shell

That would probably be construed as a sexist expression, as it objectifies a woman as "a piece of goods" - 'wild' is used in the sense of unpredictable, shameless and perhaps manic whereas 'piece of goods' is, as I said, making the girl an object. It is similar to somebody being called 'rough trade' meaning that they are thought to have no other use than sex (often used of promiscuous and uncultured gay men). Comparing a person with trade goods is to say that the user does not think of them being a person with feelings or worth other than for exploitation.

: 2: 'not a bit funky' referring to being in a boat trip and the boat pitching about

'funky' was much used in the late 1960s & 1970s to mean something enjoyable and cool - there was a style of music "funk" mainly played by US Afro-American R&B bands which had a particular back-beat rhythm style and an 'hot' up front 'inyaface' brass section overlaying chopped rhythm guitar and fuzzed/sustained lead. The music had dynamic bass-playing and sometimes had percussive/slapped bass (which hurts your thumb-knuckle to buggery!). main topics of lyrics were sex/romance - to get an idea spin "Play that funky music, white boy" by Wild Cherry, "Move on up" by Curtis Mayfield, "I feel good" by James Brown or such bands as Parliament, Bootsy's Rubber Band or dare I suggest The Temptations/Isley Brothers who were able to cross over from Soul to Funk at will.
From all of that righteous good feelin' and groovin' you get "funky" music.
As often happens (e.g. "wicked" meaning 'good') funky is the opposite of the earlier use of "funk" meaning a mood, usually of being "out of sorts". "a blue funk" was a popular expression for being down and inconsolable.

"Lay down that boogie and play that funky music till you die"

Lewis on his Full-Tilt Boogie Keyboard