Frank Popp

September 5, 2005 | 1 Comment

Frank Popp – designer, band leader, darling of the Düsseldorf media scene and all-round clever dude – purveys the kind of music that is guaranteed to get any party going. Displaying a liking for 60’s soul and funk that quite honestly is baffling coming from any German, even a DJ as talented as this.

FP-RideOn 3 starsRide on with the Frank Popp Ensemble

(0% native)
In Mr. Popp’s own words – 50,000 watts of funkin’. Standout tracks : ‘Breakaway’, ‘Hip Teens Don’t Wear Blue Jeans’ (check out the scream during the intro…brilliant), ‘Robbie, Tobbie & Das Fliewatüüt’.

Yet again however, I’ve missed the boat by a long way – my copy of the CD informs me that Mr. Popp plays regularly in Club Unique in Düsseldorf’s famous Altstadt (known locally as the longest bar in the world). I remember trying to get into Unique on a cold night in ’96 but was stopped at the door by some shady dude who asked from behind the vault-like door whether I was into Hip-Hop. Being the honest type I replied in the negative and watched in horror as the mediaeval steel shutter was slammed shut in my face (I trudged off through the rain to get me a Schweine Brötchen so the night wasn’t a total loss).

If Unique is now thumping to the sorts of sounds that cross the Delfonics, the Supremes and some of the more experimental elements of Blaxploitation disco (and with Goo Goo Muck there’s even a Cramps cover!) then I can assure you I won’t be making that mistake again and if you, Dear Reader, are in Bolker Strasse anytime soon then I suggest you er, popp in and take a look. There are a couple of droning, self-indulgent tracks on ‘Ride On . . .’ like the dreary Superstick but not enough to spoil the overall juicy taste of funk.

FP-TouchandGo3 starsTouch And Go

(0% native)

More of the same in Popp’s second album. Sam Leigh Brown’s vocals get better and better. Overall it’s great sounding but if I had to choose I’d put ‘Ride On . . .’ above this offering. Standout tracks ‘All I Need’, ‘Enough’, ‘Just Say Goodbye’.

Some folks might dismiss this as background music, to be played in lifts and the like. This is overly harsh. Under pressure I may concede that Mr. Popp’s music may just start to grate after a while but since when was that a reason for not getting in on a fad ahead of everyone else? Even if you decide not to get this CD there’ll still be no escape – every ad agency in the UK is going to be inflicting it upon you before long anyway.

UPDATE July 17 ’06: Frank has signed to Universal in the UK and ‘an album’ is scheduled for a November 21 release.

UPDATE January ’07: ‘Hip Teens . . .’ spotted being used in the first episode of Ugly Betty, the pants comedy about a girl who isn’t ugly.


1 Comment so far

  1. Angie on January 21, 2008 11:21 am

    Am a Northern Soul fan of approx 30 years. Some Northern DJ’s won’t play Hip Teens (dont wear blue jeans). Love the sound.Love the band. Love the album. Don’t usually listen to any other music, but Frank Popp Ensemble have captured the mood!! xx

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