11 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Rags to Rufus is the album that introduced the world to Chaka Khan. A twenty-year-old dynamo from the South Side of Chicago, Chaka is arguably the original queen of ‘70s funk. She had a powerful, gospel-infused voice and a stage presence to rival James Brown and George Clinton. Meanwhile, Rufus was a sharp, well-oiled machine — just check the tightly knit riffs of “Rags to Rufus,” or better yet, the groaning, gurgling grooves of “Sideways.” They knew just how to set up Chaka for the power play, and she hits it out of the park every time. Her original song “You Got the Love” comes off as the perfect merger of rock and funk. “In Love We Grow” and “Smokin’ Room” showed she could translate the vulnerability and dreaminess of true love. Still, the album is hottest when Chaka is allowed to let her inner lioness loose. There is no mistaking the signature strut of “Tell Me Something Good,” which Stevie Wonder wrote specifically for the group. Chaka prowls across the song’s grunting riff, turning it into one of the decade’s most delicious expressions of pure lust.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Rags to Rufus is the album that introduced the world to Chaka Khan. A twenty-year-old dynamo from the South Side of Chicago, Chaka is arguably the original queen of ‘70s funk. She had a powerful, gospel-infused voice and a stage presence to rival James Brown and George Clinton. Meanwhile, Rufus was a sharp, well-oiled machine — just check the tightly knit riffs of “Rags to Rufus,” or better yet, the groaning, gurgling grooves of “Sideways.” They knew just how to set up Chaka for the power play, and she hits it out of the park every time. Her original song “You Got the Love” comes off as the perfect merger of rock and funk. “In Love We Grow” and “Smokin’ Room” showed she could translate the vulnerability and dreaminess of true love. Still, the album is hottest when Chaka is allowed to let her inner lioness loose. There is no mistaking the signature strut of “Tell Me Something Good,” which Stevie Wonder wrote specifically for the group. Chaka prowls across the song’s grunting riff, turning it into one of the decade’s most delicious expressions of pure lust.

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