Heard on Progressive Underground

Amp Fiddler, Motown’s Progressive Funk and Soul Man, Connects the Dots of Detroit’s Rich Musical Heritage

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Image credit: Roe Photography

Listen to 5 essential songs that capture the musical brilliance of Amp Fiddler.

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Growing up as one of five children steeped in Motown, soul and jazz, Joseph “Amp” Fiddler was surrounded by music from an early age. His early introduction to the styles of funk and soul music and clear talent would guide him into his artistic career.


Listen: Discover how Amp Fiddler cultivates creative collaborations with these five essential tracks.


TRACK: “Spaced Outta Place” – Sundown

Spaced Outta Place,” released in 1981, was one of Fiddler’s earliest tracks produced by Sundown. This song hinted at Fiddler’s vast potential that would be fully recognized later on in his career. He would enjoy a stint with the R&B group Enchantment and an extended nine-year tenure as the keyboardist for George Clinton’s Parliament Funkadelic before embarking on his solo career.

TRACK: “Waltz of a Ghetto Fly” – Amp Fiddler feat. J Dilla

During his career, Fiddler would mentor many emerging artists — one of those being James Dewitt Yancey aka J Dilla. On Fiddler’s solo debut album, he released “Waltz of a Ghetto Fly” featuring production from J Dilla. His skill in creating collaborative partnerships would continue to serve him well throughout his career.

TRACK: “When the Morning Comes” – Alton Miller feat. Amp Fiddler

Global deep house producer Alton Miller features Fiddler on vocals with “When the Morning Comes.” This track would go on to be played on club dance floors all over the world. Musical partnerships would continue to be a hallmark of Fiddler’s musical journey as he would put out music with acts such as Sly & Robbie, Raphael Saadiq, Moodymann and various other music luminaries.

TRACK: “Lost Without You” – Will Sessions + Amp Fiddler feat. Dames Brown

From the album “The One,” Fiddler collaborates with Detroit-based funk ensemble Will Sessions and powerhouse vocal trio Dames Brown for “Lost Without You.”

TRACK: “Right Where You Are” – Amp Fiddler

Featured on the album “Afro Strut,” the track “Right Where You Are” is characterized by uplifting tones.

Over his four-decade career, Fiddler has forged a legacy of being an artist who has surveyed the tones and textures of dance music’s relationship with funk, soul and R&B, while putting his own special stamp on the medium. He is a cultured curator, historian and connector, connecting the dots between Detroit’s rich musical heritage and presenting it in a global context. As a seasoned collaborator, he has become a musical godfather.

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Chris Campbell, Host, The Progressive Underground

Chris Campbell has a deep interest in curating Detroit’s rich music scene and presenting it to the world-at-large.

ccampbell@wdet.org Follow @cambeaux

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