Farley "Jackmaster" Funk

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Farley "Jackmaster" Funk
Birth nameFarley Keith Williams
Also known asFarley Keith
Born (1962-01-25) 25 January 1962 (age 59)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Occupation(s)Disc jockey, composer, music producer, remixer
Years active1981–present
LabelsTrax Records, House Records
Associated actsThe Hot Mix 5, Darryl Pandy

Farley "Jackmaster" Funk (born Farley Keith Williams; January 25, 1962) is an American musician, DJ and record producer of Chicago house and acid house music. He is notable for writing and producing a number of highly influential tracks in the mid and late 1980s.[1]

He has released records under various aliases like "Farley Funkin' Keith", "Rude Boy Farley Keith", "The Housemaster Boyz", "Jackmaster Dick" or "The Godfather of House".


Farley got his start in the music industry in 1981 as one of the original members of the Hot Mix 5, a DJ team at WBMX-FM 102.7 FM, Oak Park, Illinois[2] (original members of Kenny "Jammin" Jason, Mickey "Mixin" Oliver, Scott "Smokin" Silz, Farley "Funkin" Keith and Ralphi "Rockin" Rosario). He was a guest DJ at the Warehouse nightclub, and was a resident DJ at The Playground, which later became The Candy Store and later La Mirage.

In 1985, together with Chip E., he started a record label named House Records whose first release was "Jack Trax" by Mirage & Chip E. Farley's own debut single, and catalogue number 2, was "Aw Shucks (Let's Go Let's Go)" in 1985, followed by "Funkin With the Drums" in the same year. The latter contained stripped down "beat tracks" composed with drums alone.

After that followed a series of influential house and acid house records on Chicago's Trax Records: In 1985, Farley's single "Jack the Bass" (along with Chip E.'s "Time to Jack" from the "Jack Trax" EP) ushered in the popular "jacking" dance craze in Chicago house. Also in 1985, he released "Funkin' with the Drums Again", followed in 1986 by "Give Yourself to Me" with vocals by Kevin "Jack N House" Irving and gospel singer Ricky Dillard.

In 1986, his roommate at the time, Steve "Silk" Hurley, who was an important house pioneer himself, had produced a cover of "I Can't Turn Around" by Isaac Hayes selling well in the Chicago area. Hearing Hurley's version of the song, Farley teamed up with Jesse Saunders to make his own version of the track.[2] Keeping much of Hurley's instrumental arrangement, he changed the hook from "I Can't Turn Around" to "Love Can't Turn Around" and dropped the rest of Hayes' original lyrics, substituting new words by author Vince Lawrence. The lead vocals were performed by church singer Darryl Pandy who also performed the song on the British TV show Top of the Pops.[3] The new version, "Love Can't Turn Around", reached number 10 in the UK Singles Chart in 1986.[4] It holds an important place in the history of house music as the first record in that genre to make it into the UK Singles Chart and to popularize house music overseas.[5]

Farley had several other follow-up hits during the late 1980s, most notably "House Nation" in 1986, credited to The House Master Boyz and the Rude Boy of House, which followed "Love Can't Turn Around" into the UK top ten.

The album No Vocals Necessary (1988) contained a 303 driven instrumental acid house track named "The Acid Life" that was successfully (but uncredited) covered by Technotronic as "Pump Up the Jam" (1989).

Apart from his own works, he did some remixing, producing and editing for other artists during this time. He also DJed and performed at many parties in the Chicago suburbs, and is still playing venues as a DJ today.[5]



  • No Vocals Necessary (1988)


Year Single UK
1985 "Aw Shucks (Let's Go Let's Go)"
"Funkin with the Drums"
"Jack the Bass"
"Funkin with the Drums Again"
1986 "Love Can't Turn Around" 10
"House Nation" (as the Housemaster Boyz and the Rude Boyz of House)
"Thanks 4 the Trax U Lost" (as the Housemaster Boyz)
"Give Your Self to Me"
1987 "Sensuous Woman Goes Disco"
"It's U" (with Ricky Dillard)
"Hey Norton (Aw Shucks)"
"Jack My Body" (as Yellow House)
"U Ain't Really House"
1988 "U Ain't Really Acieed (House)"
1989 "Free at Last"
"As Always" (with Ricky Dillard) 49
"Think!" 76
1993 "Beat That Bitch with a Bat" (as Blackman)
1994 "Pray 4 Me"
1995 "Another Day"
1996 "Resurrection EP"
2004 "I Call on You"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.

DJ mixes[edit]

  • Real House: Hot Mix CD (1996)


  • Trax Classix (2005)


  1. ^ Bush, John. "Artist Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  2. ^ a b Colin Larkin, ed. (2003). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Eighties Music (Third ed.). Virgin Books. p. 190. ISBN 1-85227-969-9.
  3. ^ RIP Darryl Pandy. WIRE, June 14, 2011. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 216. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  5. ^ a b Farley "Jackmaster" Funk, the Man Who Brought House to the UK. Interview by Josh Baines". VICE, September 18, 2015. Retrieved June 17, 2017.
  6. ^ "FARLEY 'JACKMASTER' FUNK - full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 September 2020.

External links[edit]