Buyer beware with this one, Jack. This cut is so funky, no backbone within five miles is safe. Those brassy and sassy funksters in Prime Time Funk are at it again, this time with a socially distanced music video of their uptempo tune “Whatcha Gonna Do (When the World’s on Fire).” The song was originally released on the 10-piece western New York outfit’s 2012 album “Hear and Now.”
“‘Whatcha Gonna Do’ is relatively timeless because, unfortunately, there always seems to be something devastating going on that can bring out the worst or the best in people,” Jim Richmond says in the video’s press release. Richmond is the band’s co-founder, leader, and tenor sax player, who co-wrote the song with trumpet player Derrick Lipp.
“We had originally chosen the song because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the murder of George Floyd and the resulting protests make it even more appropriate,” Richmond says. But the song has even longer legs than that. It goes back to 2005, in response to the turmoil surrounding Hurricane Katrina.
And now today, with the global health crisis and racial inequality that ail us all, it seems as timely as ever.
Released on May 31, the video for “Whatcha Gonna Do (When the World is on Fire)” takes on the look of a Zoom meeting, with the members of PTF each in their own studio, living room, basement, or garage. And I’m tellin’ you, they just wail.
YOUTUBE SCREENSHOT (Left to right) Guitarist Joe Chiappone, bari sax player Mike Edwards, and drummer Dave Cohen.
Mike Edwards’s baritone sax barks out a resonant groove, surrounded by the response of the other horns. Dave Cohen’s drums beat and swing relentlessly; like a chronic migraine, they won’t let go. And then there are the lyrics that beg the question we all wanna know: “Whatcha gonna do when the world’s on fire?”
Frank De Blase is CITY’s music writer. He can be reached at [email protected].