Dayton Funk Music: The Layering of Multiple Identities1
This chapter, based on a case study of Dayton Street Funk, employs ethnographic methods combined with the analysis of library and archival sources, recordings, and other artifacts to explore the construction of identities in black popular music. Although funk scenes existed in urban centers throughout the United States, the chapter focuses on Dayton as a case study to explore issues of identity for various reasons. First, Dayton, a small industrial Midwestern city without the presence of a record label, became a major center for the production of funk music. Second, fourteen of the city's funk bands secured recording contracts with major labels. Third, between 1968 and 1999, thirteen of these groups collectively produced 143 songs that landed on Billboard's R & B/Soul music charts–the most songs charted by funk groups of any one city. Four, each of these bands, as well as those without recording contracts but with local followings, evolved their own signature sound and unique persona.