Instant Funk were a funk and disco group, formed in the 1970s. Intially they performed as back-up artists for several music stars. Finally, in the mid-1970s Instant Funk released their debut album Get Down With Philly Jump in teh mid-1970s. They released their first single called “It Ain’t Reggae But It’s Funky” which peaked at #24 on the dance chart in 1977. After a couple of R&B charting singles, Instant Funk hit the big time when their single “I Got My Mind Made Up (You Can Get It Girl)” went to #1 on both dance and R&B charts, and also just barely made it to the Top 20 pop chart in 1979. Instant Funk continued to release a few more dance and R&B hits on Salsoul until the label folded. Their last charting single was “Who Took Away The Funk” in 1983. The group disbanded a few years later.
The group’s start in the music business
Instant Funk were a disco/R&B/funk /soul American band formed in New Jersey in 1975. Its core members consisted of bassist Raymond Earl, drummer Scotty Miller and guitarist Kim Miller. Later in their career they expanded their lineup by adding lead singer James Carmichael, keyboardist Dennis Richardson, percussionist Charles Williams, and a horn section comprising of Larry Davis, Eric Huff and Johnny Onderlinde.
They initially called themselves The Music Machine and served as back-up artists for many stars such as The Manhattans, Bunny Sigler (who discovered the band), TNJs, Lou Rawls, Curtis Mayfield, Evelyn “Champagne” King (especially on her hit track “Shame”), the TNJs and others. They were eventually given the name “Instant Funk” by their manager Jackie Ellis because he noted that the group could come up with those funky grooves in just a flash.
Instant Funk’s move to Gold Mind Records
The band moved to Philadelphia in the 1976, where they released their debut album Get Down with the Philly Jump. The album’s single “It Ain’t Reggae But It’s Funky” was popular on the dance circuit (#24 dance).
In 1977 MFSB guitarist, songwriter/record producer Norman Harris established his own label Gold Mind; one of the label’s first artists was the all-girl group First Choice. Gold Mind was then in partnership with New York-based Salsoul Records, which acted as the label’s distributor.
“I Got My Mind Made Up (You Can Get It Girl)” – Instant Funk’s biggest hit single
Bunny Sigler was also among one of Gold Mind’s first artists. One track called “Let Me Party with You,” was written by Sigler and all members of Instant Funk. It went to #8 on the R&B singles chart in 1978.
Eventually, Gold Mind closed for good, and transferred much of its acts as well as future releases to Salsoul Records, including Instant Funk’s “I Got My Mind Made Up (You Can Get It Girl).” Salsoul promoted the single relentlessly, and its efforts pushed “I Got My Mind Made Up” to the top not only of the dance charts, but also the R&B singles charts in 1979. The single just also made it barely to the Top 20 pop chart that same year.
“I Got My Mind Made Up”‘s album, which was also Instant Funk’s eponymous LP as well, went to #1 on the R&B album chart and #12 on the Billboard 200 album chart in 1979.
Disbandment and reunion
Instant Funk continued to record and tour together until Salsoul folded to shift its focus on the emerging home video industry. This left Instant Funk without a label, but they managed to perform and tour the next few years until they disbanded in the 1980s.
Sigler went on to become a member of the Tramps. Raymond Earl founded and headed his own production company, while some of the members recorded and performed gospel music.
In 2013 Instant Funk members got together again to work on a music video “I’m Your Reflection” by R&B and soul singer Shantel.