Formed initially in 1969 by high-school classmates Louis A. McCall and Michael V. Cooper as Project Soul:
Michael Cooper (guitar, sitar, timbales, percussion, vocals)
Louis A. McCall (drums, vocals) (d. 25th June 1997)
Felton 'Slyde Clyde' Pilate (trombone/lead vocals)
the group also included:
Karl 'Deacon' Fuller (trumpet)
Paul 'Maceo' Harrell (saxophone/flute)
Cedric A. Martin (bass Guitar)
Danny 'Sweet Man' Thomas (keyboards)
I would like to thank Thrill Management for allowing me to duplicate these texts
Con Funk Shun is a star-quality attraction delivering a superb, high-energy show with electrifying choreography, glistening six-part vocal harmonies, and a dash of humor.
They are, unquestionably, among the heroes of Funk with romantic ballads and dance-party hits galore.
Memorable melodies, inventive horn arrangements and klav-guitar woven grooves, make the group absolutely essential to the evolution of funk.
They charted an impressive one Platinum album and four consecutive Gold albums.
They dominated the funk scene with 20 hit singles that included 8 Top Ten R & B Hits and one number 1 R & B smash between '77-'86.
With finesse and consistency they legitimized what came following them: high-profile, commercial explosions featuring their hits in countless rap/hip-hop samples that exposed them to a new generation.
In response, Mercury / PolyGram released the Best of Con Funk Shun" in '93 on their 'Funk Essentials' Series.
The fans immediately recoiled to the Essential to Funk, Con Funk Shun.
Universal bought PolyGram, and again released the sure-thing Money-Maker, Best Of Con Funk Shun on their Millennium Collection in March 2002.
This enthusiasm is what encored the band back to the stage.
With rave concert reviews and cries for more LP's, Mercury / PolyGram re-released the Gold-LP"Secrets" in '95 and in '96 'Best Of Vol. II'.
Then, Intersound Records released 'Live For Ya A**", a live LP, in '96 to coincide with CFS on the Sinbad 'Soul Music Festival' HBO Special airing that August/September.
'97, brought a 'Love's Train' cover on a Multi-Platinum debut by Dru Hill, and samples for Gold-LP Booty Call Soundtrack ('Huckelberry' by D Shot) and Double-Platinum Gang Related Soundtrack ('A Change Is Gonna Come' by J. Flexx). '98, saw the re-release of Gold-LP 'Spirit Of Love' and the 'Ballads Collection'.
2000 brought a new round of funk with Con Funk Shun contributing two new tracks to the Major Hits Records 'United We Funk All-stars Compilation' (and Tour) including GAP's Charlie Wilson, Rick James, Dazz Band, Roger Troutman, SOS Band, Barkay's, and The System.
In addition to the band's schedule, co-lead's, Michael Cooper and Felton Pilate, remain vital in contemporary music today.
When Con Funk Shun closed shop between '86 to '93, Cooper shined on a string of solo hits including 'Shoop Shoop', 'Prove My Love', and 'Dinner For Two' on his Warner Bros. LP's, and still tours as a solo act, with NEW LP in the wings.
Pilate emerged as a multi-platinum record producer for his award-winning production on M.C.Hammer, Addams Family Movie, and Hammerman Cartoon Show.
Still producing, he recently produced for Evander Hollyfield's new label, Real Deal Records, on their new act, Four Shades.
In their formative years, they started in their hometown of Vallejo, CA.
The band wound up in Memphis in the mid-70's when they landed a lucky gig backing the Soul Children, a red-hot Stax act.
After the Soul Children back-up gig the group adopted a new name inspired from a Nite-Liters song: ConFunkShun.
After the newly re-named act attracted the attention of Mercury Records, they soon set funkateers around the world on fire with 'Sho' Feels Good To Me', from their debut album.
Their second LP, 'Secrets', exploded to Gold status.
The LP featured the No. 1 Hit Single, 'Ffun', penned by the productive, prolific Cooper on a tour-coach ride between concerts.
By 1979, with charting albums 'Loveshine' and 'Candy', Con Funk Shun were solid-Gold sellers, performing for sold-out shows like the prestigious Omni in Atlanta.
The group began self-producing a year later, on the 'Touch' LP.
Alongside blistering dance workouts like 'Chase Me' and 'Ms. Got-The-Body' were their timeless slow-jams with pop flair - classic fav's such as, 'Love's Train', 'Straight From The Heart', '(Let Me Put) Love On Your Mind' and 'All Up To You'.
'I'm Leaving Baby' was a collaboration with Maurice Starr, then-future Svengali to New Kids On The Block.
These hits and more remain on radio play lists today, year after year.
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Co-founder/drummer Louis A. McCall was murdered on the 25th June 1997 in Stone Mountain, Georgia in a home invasion robbery.
According to Atlanta television station Fox-5 (who have covered the case for years) the case remained unsolved until the Dekalb County grand jury indicted a suspect for felony murder on the 18th January 2007.
On the 15th February 2007, Fox reporter Doug Evans stated that the alleged killer was in custody in another jurisiction but escaped a few days after the indictment was announced. He remains at large and is being hunted by the U.S. Marshalls and the F.B.I..
McCall's widow, Linda Lou McCall and their grown children hope that the federal officials will affect a capture soon.
The alleged perpetrator, Marques Clair, 28, of Essex County, NJ, is currently wanted for felony murder in the killing of Louis A. McCall.
Linda Lou McCall sent me her biography of her husband's group. This is reproduced here with her kind permission:
CON FUNK SHUN Bio
Con Funk Shun were one of the most popular R&B & funk bands of the 1970s and 1980s, with numerous hit records including "Ffun", a Billboard magazine "#1 With A Bullet" Top Soul Single. The act recorded a total of 11 albums with Mercury Records and still enjoys success with the release of numerous compilations and original albums being released as compact discs.
THE EARLY YEARS
High-school classmates Louis A. McCall and Michael V. Cooper formed Con Funk Shun in Vallejo, California in 1969. With Louis on drums and percussion and Michael providing lead vocals and lead guitar, the group included Karl "Deacon" Fuller (trumpet), Paul "Maceo" Harrell (saxophone/flute) Cedric A. Martin (bass Guitar), Danny "Sweet Man" Thomas (keyboards), and Felton "Slyde Clyde" Pilate (trombone/lead vocals).
Originally named Project Soul, the group became a backup band for the Stax Records artists The Soul Children in the early 1970s Renaming themselves Confunkshun after a instrumental tune by The Nightlighters, the group moved to Memphis, Tennessee and became one of the label's most sought-after studio bands. They supported themselves by performing throughout the mid-South and Japan at clubs and colleges. They came to the attention of Estelle Axton and recorded an album and several singles on her Freetone Records label. By that time, Louis McCall's wife, publicist/songwriter Linda Lou McCall, had "tweaked" the spelling of the band's name to “Con Funk Shun”.
THE MERCURY RECORDS YEARS
By 1976, Con Funk Shun, was one of the most popular unsigned bands in the South, performing at several clubs, festivals, and college functions at least fours nights of every week. Yet, for a while, they still had not secured a major recording deal. That all changed in July 1976 when Mercury Records A&R man Jud Phillips finally signed the group to a major recording contract and their first album, "Con Funk Shun", was released later that year.
The band's second album Secrets was released in 1977 to critical and commercial success. Their first hit single was "Ffun" rose swiftly up the charts and landed at "#1 With A Bullet" on Billboard magazine's Top Soul Singles chart in July 1977. Over the course of 10 years, Con Funk Shun recorded 11 albums with Mercury, with five of them achieving "gold album" status (selling in excess of 500,000 units). The band performed to sold-out coliseums all over the country. They had numerous Top 40 hits including "Chase Me", "Love's Train", "Straight From The Heart", and "Shake & Dance With Me". They recorded their milestone album, "7" in 1981, the seventh album for seven band members who had been together since their teens. It included "California 1", "Straight From The Heart", "Body Lovers", “Promise You Love” and the Billboard Top 20 Soul Single, "Bad Lady".
THE LATER YEARS
In the early 1980s, the advent of synthesized music and poor support from their record company was beginning to cause tension between the boyhood friends. As the men grew older, there were many artistic and business decision differences. The primary songwriters were not open to having the other members' compositions produced. These were the same issues that many bands of the time experienced. The tension between the band members was palatable by the mid-1980s and a break was inevitable.
"Burning Love", Con Funk Shun's last album with Mercury Records, was recorded without lead singer/songwriter, Felton Pilate, who left the group in 1986. Melvin Carter, a frequent collaborator of Con Funk Shun, replaced Felton for their final album, "Burning Love". The same year, the original group was essentially forced to disband after Cooper decided to leave for a solo career. Louis A. McCall become a consultant and event producer with clients such as M.C. Hammer, Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte, and to join his wife in marketing such contemporary artists as Eminem, Puff Daddy (now "Diddy"), Mya, and the Black-Eyed Peas. Cooper released a few solo albums with Warner Bros. with only a few hits like "Prove My Love" and "Shoop Shoop". Pilate went on to become a highly successful producer and musical director for rap phenom, M.C. Hammer. He was nominated in 1991 for a Grammy for co-producing Hammer's hit record "U Can't Touch This" and an Oscar in 1992 for "Addams Groove" on the ""Addams Family"" soundtrack.
In the 1990s Cooper, without consulting the original band members, began performing as "Con Funk Shun". Felton Pilate later joined up, with unknown sidemen in place of their former band mates. Original horn players Fuller and Harrell often appeared with the reconstituted band, yet they were treated like a sideman. Both eventually left due to professional differences. The band currently perform at "old school" concerts and small clubs around the country. Many a ticket buyer has expressed disappointment, believing that they were going to see the original band, only to discover a set of virtually unknowns. The reconstituted band lacks the legendary tightness of its rhythm section, the "hot brass" sound of their horns and the amazing personal charisma of seven good-looking young men who developed a unique and iconic sound. Fortunately, the "sound" of the original lead singers remains, with Cooper and Pilate continuing to share Con Funk Shun's legacy with a new generation of music-lovers.
Founder/drummer Louis A. McCall was murdered on June 25, 1997 in Stone Mountain, Georgia in a home invasion robbery. According to Atlanta television station Fox-5, who has covered the case for years, the murder remained unsolved for years. McCall's wife of 20 years, Linda Lou McCall had the case reopened three times. Finally a Dekalb County, Georgia grand jury indicted a suspect for felony murder on January 18, 2007. On February 15, 2007, Fox reporter Doug Evans stated that the alleged killer who had been in custody in another jurisdiction when the indictment was announced escaped a few days after. He remains at large and is being hunted by the U.S. Marshals and the F.B.I. McCall's widow, Linda Lou McCall and their grown children are understandably distraught over the recent development but they feel confident that the federal officials will affect a capture soon.
Con Funk Shun's original music can still be heard in such recent films as "Gone In 60 Seconds", "Next Friday", and "American Pimp", which was featured at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival. Ironically, one of the memorable characters in "American Pimp" was John "Rosebudd" Dickson, a childhood friend of drummer, Louis A. McCall. They played in the Vallejo High School band together and remained friends for life.
THE CON FUNK SHUN CREED
When the band recorded their seventh album for Mercury Records, it was monumental and significant time in the history of these seven members. Accordingly, Linda Lou McCall wrote a special statement to show the band's continued solidarity and spirit of brotherhood. The album was simply entitled "7". The design was a large stone monolith number symbol with the bands named emblazoned above it in the stylized font that Linda Lou had designed for its fifth album "Spirit of Love". The creed is as follows:
"Renaissance comes by the name Seven-the rebirth of life, love, liberty, and the legacy of hope. We rejoice as Seven, bringing you the music of our hearts Seven times. But it is as One that we give you our love." Peace and Unity, CON FUNK SHUN
After the death of Louis McCall in 1997, four of the original band members, Cedric Martin, Rev. Karl Fuller, Danny Thomas, and Paul Harrell, exhibited that spirit of unity by their show of support for Louis' wife and two children. In late 2006, they created "Team Con Funk Shun" to assist the family in bringing Louis' killer to justice. Outraged by the cold-blooded murder of their band mate, the men have vowed to attend the upcoming court proceedings with the family. After the trial, they are starting a scholarship fund to help a deserving college-bound student from Louis' alma mater, Vallejo High School, who plans to major in criminal justice or law.
Linda Lou's story continues here:
Organised Con Funk Shun (Mercury Records 1973)
Con Funk Shun (Mercury Records 1976)
Secrets (Mercury Records 1977)
Loveshine (Mercury Records 1978)
Candy (Mercury Records 1979)
Spirit Of Love (Mercury Records 1980)
Touch (Mercury Records 1980)
Con Funk Shun 7 (Mercury Records 1981)
To The Max (Mercury Records 1982)
Fever (Mercury Records 1983)
Electric Lady (Mercury Records 1985)
Burnin' Love (Mercury Records 1986)
Best Of Con Funk Shun (Mercury Records 1993)
Ffun (Mercury Records 1994)
Live For Ya Ass (Mercury Records 1996)
Best of Con Funk Shun, Vol. 2 (Mercury Records 1996)
Con Funk Shun - Greatest Hits (Mercury Records 1998)
Con Funk Shun - The Ballads Collection (Mercury Records 1998)
Best Of Con Funk Shun - The Millennium Collection (Mercury Records 2002)
Con Funk Shun - The Collection' (Mercury Records 2002)
Con Funk Shun - The Definitive CD (Mercury Records 2006)
More Than Love (Shanachie Records 2015)