TIR 31: How Choc’Let Gave Graham Central Station S’more Funk

Patryce “Choc’Let” Banks with musical and personal partner, Larry Graham, shown playing acoustic guitar rather than the usual electric bass for which he was so famous.


Brought to you by FUNKNSTUFF.NET and hosted by Scott Goldfine — musicologist and author of “Everything Is on the One: The First Guide of Funk” ― “TRUTH IN RHYTHM” is the interview show that gets DEEP into the pocket with contemporary music’s foremost masters of the groove.

Featured in this 2-part series: Patryce “Choc’Let” Banks, the original lead female singer and percussionist for Graham Central Station. Led by former Sly & the Family Stone slap-bass pioneer Larry Graham, as the self-proclaimed baddest group from East to West GCS was one of the down and dirtiest funk bands of the 1970s. As hot as Graham and the rest of the group’s players were, Choc’Let’s soulful, sultry and sassy vocalizing was as key to the band’s sound and success as any other ingredient.

GCS’ 1975 landmark funk LP Ain’t No Bout-a-Doubt It kicked off with the full-throttle funk assault of “The Jam,” in which Ms. Banks tantalizingly introduces herself as C-H-O-C-L-E-T, CHOC’LET! She was also upfront on that record’s No. 1 R&B hit, “Your Love.” Among the other hits and fantastic tracks GCS produced during their sweetest Choc’Let period that encompassed the band’s first four albums from 1974-1976, was “Release Yourself,” “Can You Handle It?” “Feel the Need,” “It’s Alright,” “Entrow,” “Love (Covers a Multitude of Sin),” “I Believe in You,” “Hair,” “Water,” “Ghetto” and so many others.

In the late 1970s, Choc’Let struck out on her own and went on to provide background vocals for numerous artists and released a solo album in 1980 called She’s Back and Ready. Some of the other acts that she performed or recorded with are B.B. King, Stephanie Mills, Rebbie Jackson, Chaka Khan, Wayne Henderson and the Crusaders, Ronnie Laws, Dr. Dre and Rose Royce. More recently, Choc’Let has written books including “A Choc’Let State of Mind” and “Deja View: Memoirs of a Funk Diva.” She has also teamed with Ronald “Stozo the Clown” Edwards, best known for his album cover artwork for P-Funk and other artists, to spearhead a movement called Fonk-O-Lution, which aims to give more attention to the funk music genre and elevate it to the level of respect and acclaim it so richly deserves.

Here, Ms. Banks shares all the fascinating history and stories from rubbing elbows with Sly Stone and Jimi Hendrix to being a focal point of one of funk’s most powerful bands to striking out on her own.

Recorded November 2017