Posted by Smokey Stover on June 15, 2005
In Reply to: In a blue funk posted by ESC on June 15, 2005
: : HELP!..... what does 'in a blue funk' mean/ is it some kind of cliche or something... like once in a blue moon?
: It means depressed or sad. From a previous discussion:
: '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
OED: Funk: "1. Cowering fear; a state of panic or shrinking terror.
blue funk (slang): extreme nervousness, tremulous dread...1861 Sat. Rev. 23 Nov. 534 We encounter..the miserable Dr. Blandling in what is called..a blue funk. 1871 MAXWELL in Life xii. 382 Certainly [chloron deos] is the Homeric for a blue funk."
I first encountered "Funk" in a poem of that title by Robert W. Service, in a collection reflecting his experiences in World War I. Say what you will about Service's doggerel style (like Goethe's), some of his images are unforgettable, as his "Funk" was for me. SS