Ospreyshire Origins: The Tulsa Strike Back Groove


This is WOSPR Speaking

Foreign shores wanted more in store for stealing funky scores

Saturday night brought the fight to ignite to prevent the plight as we regained our rights

No matter if its Brooklyn, Echo Park, or Tulsa, Oklahoma. We’ll get our song back and clear your pop-coated aroma

The oil capital’s gonna get ya uptown, downtown, any town

Everybody sing like the Originator told ya: We gonna strike back with this groove!

To all of you that like old-school funk, I salute you!

I had a funk phase last year by listening to bands like Cameo, Parliament-Funkadelic, Sly and the Family Stone to name a few. One band that I checked out as well was The GAP Band. I heard a few of their songs thanks to my mom when I was younger and she did like their music. On one day last year, I listened to their song “I Don’t Think You Want to Get Up and Dance” as part of a YouTube playlist. I had to reattach my jaw literally during the first few seconds of the song. Let’s see if you’ll be able to figure out why. Here’s the radio edit version, but the point will still stand.

“Oops upside your head, say oops upside your head…”

The way they say that line must have been replicated by some multi-instrumentalist and a singer who has a habit of retreading older R&B and funk sounds. Hmm…who could they be?

Image result for mark ronson

Image result for bruno mars

I’m sure a good portion of you only recognize the second picture. Here, let me make things a lot clearer with one of the biggest songs of the 10s that both were famous for performing…

“Oops upside your head say oops upside your head…Uptown funk you up, say uptown funk you up…”

Don’t lie, that’s what you were all thinking when you heard the song from The GAP Band. I can’t lie to you, I used to really like “Uptown Funk” as it was one of the few pop songs I thought was actually listenable. Okay, even then I didn’t think it was as good as other funk songs I heard, but at least it sounded different than the typical pop garbage. That must be the case because it sounds like The GAP Band! Those Tulsa funkers managed to sue Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars for stealing their original song. The result, The GAP Band and their co-writers got writing credit and partial royalties of “Uptown Funk”. Did you know that including the updated writing credits, that means “Uptown Funk” had a whopping total of ELEVEN writers after the lawsuit! I can’t make this up. So, Ronson and Mars can credit Trinidad James right away for referencing his “Don’t believe me just watch” lyric from “All Gold Everything”, but not the band that had been making music since both of them were even born? Wow, just wow, guys…

Here’s some musical trivia for The Tulsa Strike Back Groove. I freestyled half of the spoken word elements that aren’t mentioned in the lyrics while referencing Charlie Wilson’s dialogue in their song. I also parody lyrics from “Uptown Funk”. See if you can spot them. Also, Charlie Wilson from The GAP Band is cousins to another famous funk musician…Bootsy Collins!

The picture of The GAP Band is from The Mississippi Link.

The picture of Mark Ronson is from PopCrush.

The picture of Bruno Mars is from Billboard.

14 thoughts on “Ospreyshire Origins: The Tulsa Strike Back Groove

  1. I don’t blame you for showcasing how the creative content of others gets snatched and money is made off of it because the ‘original’ artists should get the credit due them and not have their creations stolen and a profit made from the stolen creation of other artists. I see this as problematic. I had never heard “Uptown Funk” because I don’t like Bruno Mars and had only heard one song he had put out titled, “24K Magic.”

    I have long adored The Gap Band and Bootsy Collins and Parliament-Funkadelic; the original ‘Funksters’. All others are watered down wannabes. The music of today just ain’t cutting it with me. I’m an old school girl and always will be. The only song I’ve heard by Charlie Wilson is “There Goes My Baby” and I love it, but I guess I need to listen to more of his music, but if truth be told, I’m still stuck on Barry White. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE his music and can’t get enough of it. SIGH! May he rest in peace!

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, thanks for understanding. Originality is something I care about a lot and it annoys me with how people can just take other people’s hard work and never giving credit for it. That’s the main recurring theme in the 2nd half of this album using various examples of inventions, art, movies, and music. I agree that it’s problematic. Bruno Mars may have a good voice, but his act of retreading older music is getting stale after 8 years since he came out with “Locked Out of Heaven” which totally sounds like a Police song. Since then he’s been dying to sound like 70s and 80s funk and R&B and recently trying to take on 90s new jack swing with that “Finesse” song with Cardi B (who is trying way too hard to copy Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes’s rapping delivery in that song, but I digress). I’ll even go further and say that the whole “Uptown Funk” situation could be cultural appropriation as well as plagiarism by blatantly stealing from That Gap Band song as well as copying obvious parts of late 70s/early 80s funk aesthetics.

      That’s awesome! I have listened to their music before and been checking out other bands who came around or a bit after them. Modern mainstream music is so watered down. The good modern stuff isn’t played on the radio, I can tell you that much, but you have to dig deep to find it. Of course, there was so much good music that came out before I was born and I want to do my best to honor the innovators. I’m glad my parents exposed me to older music as a kid even if I didn’t know all the bands. One of my favorite Parliament-Funkadelic songs is “Who Says a Funk Band Can’t Play Rock?”. Also weirdly enough, the first time I heard of “Atomic Dog” by George Clinton was (sadly) through a commercial for the live action 101 Dalmatians movie when I was a kid.

      Barry White? Nice! I’ve heard a few songs of his, but I want to listen to more of his works. Of course it’s a shame that my generation might only know him for appearing in a Simpsons episode.

      Thank you so much for checking out the post! I’ve got plenty more of them coming the next couple of weeks with other musical examples, one movie example, and some forgotten inventors along the way.


  2. That GAP band track!! – I remember when it came out. It’s awesome. I sing it to myself all the time, complete with all my childhood dance moves from the 70’s. Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall, lol! I’m a huge fan of funk and soul and seriously, I have never made it all the way through any track Bruno Mars is on. I heard of his Uptown Funk track and just assumed it was a revival of the earlier song. Albeit a bad version that misses the point of the original. Really informative post. I had no idea of the background story. So glad they pulled him up on it. Seriously though, what is wrong with crediting your inspirations? Why not even seek out the source and collaborate for a totally new outcome? Or get permission to remake it? Or just stop stealing shit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey! Thanks for stopping by and checking out that post! I’m glad you like The GAP Band and that song. I actually just bought the album which has “Oops Upside Your Head” today, coincidentally enough. Yeah, those nursery rhyme parody lyrics were really funny in that song.

      Never listened through an entire Bruno Mars song? Wow! I certainly have that feeling more so now. When I first heard of Uptown Funk, I thought it was a throwback to late 70s/early 80s funk music with modern production (although one can argue that Bruno Mars IS a throwback artist for nearly a decade now). I didn’t even know it was a rip-off song instead of an homage. I’m also relived that The GAP Band won against Mark Ronson and Mars.

      I know, right? That’s a big problem I have with people just stealing things and never owning up to it. Half of this album is about different cases involving music, art, movies, and inventions just to name a few. People need to have the decency to credit what came before them. If you’re going to do a remake, then at least pay the royalties if it’s not public domain. Thank you for feeling this way about this case of music thievery.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh I hope you enjoy the album and take a deep listen to the musicality of those fellas. The arrangements, the layering, the overall groove, and most of all the message. This is rebellious stuff. It matches my spirit. For that band to even rise to the level where they became popular artists they had to be light years ahead.

        I saw a video on NPR Tiny Desk recently of Tower of Power and I could not believe just how tight their band is, still is. A bunch of old guys who just know exactly what they are doing. Puts a lot of today’s popular artists to shame.

        I have only listened to a couple of your tracks so far and I keep yearning for a touch of bass to complement the deepness in your voice. Are any like that? Your message is good. It would be great if you could point me to any of yours you think I might enjoy. There’s a lot of content to check out. Nice and original stuff. Keep it up.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I certainly will and I will let you know when I listen to the whole thing. From the songs I do know from The GAP Band, I can tell they’ve got amazing musicality and arrangements. They certainly sounded ahead of their time. What other funk musicians and bands should I check out.

        I’m not familiar with Tower of Power, but I will check them out. Tiny Desk concerts can be really good. Last one I saw was from the late Zimbabwean singer Oliver Mtukudzi. I’m so glad I was exposed to his music when I was in high school.

        Gotcha. That album was the first one where I actually used a bass on some songs. I’ll definitely keep a note of that for future recordings and I do want to improve more at that instrument. I guess the more bass-heavy songs I can think of on Dear Innovare could be “Cameroonian Originality March” and “The Realest Man from Colchester, Ontario”. I also do a one-man acappella thing with “The Uncrowned King of Johannesburg” where I sing bass, baritone, and tenor in it. Thank you very much and I’m glad you appreciate the messages there. I certainly strive to be original in everything I do. My stuff is quite experimental, but I’m happy to know I have some ears listening to these tracks. That means a lot.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tuku is the best, I love his music. Tower of Power came to mind because even though you can’t see the bass player, he holds the whole sound together and it comes through like a heartbeat.

        Thanks for the recommendations, I’ll take a listen and will check out a few more random clicks soon.

        As for other funk artists, I am a big fan of Curtis Mayfield, Tom Browne, The Bar-Kays, Sly & The Family Stone, Parliament Funkadelic (I only just found out they are called that, I thought they were just Parliament, lol). There are so many… enjoy exploring wherever the boogie takes you 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • AWESOME! I’m so happy that there are others who know about Tuku. May he rest in power. I saw that Tower of Power Tiny Desk concert. That was totally legit and I want to check out more of their music. I also realized I heard of one of their songs before “What is Hip?/Soul Power”. All those guys still have it.

        No problem. I hope you enjoy some of the tracks and to stick around for future posts. Tomorrow involves multiple plagiarism cases against Cameroonian music and I have three posts involving a trilogy of songs that deal with different aspects of an insane movie plagiarism case that also involves music and cultural appropriation.

        That looks like a solid list. I don’t think I’m familiar with Tom Browne or The Bar-Kays, so I’ll check them out. Don’t worry about the Parliament Funkadelic confusion. They used to be two separate bands when they started out, but they shared a lot of the same members and combined later on. I’ve checked out other Tiny Desk concerts and I was exposed to Trouble Funk and Lianne La Havas. Those were great shows.

        Liked by 1 person

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