Sad news out of the world of R&B. James Carmichael, lead singer of the popular 70s group Instant Funk died of complications from diabetes. He was 71. Instant Funk was formed in New Jersey by Scotty Miller, his brother Kim and Raymond Earl. Instant Funk was a tight band that built a reputation among the East Coast R&B community. Originally called The Music Machine, they were discovered by Philadelphia soul legend Bunny Sigler, who helped connect them with producers in the city, and brought Carmichael to them as lead singer. In addition to working with Sigler, Instant Funk also backed The Manhattans, Lou Rawls, The O’jays, Evelyn “Champagne” King and others. Instant Funk became a headlining act with the release of the album “Get Down With The Philly Jump.” They followed that effort with a single for Sigler titled “Let Me Party With You”, which was released on the Gold Mind label. When Gold Mind folded, Instant Funk’s single “I Got My Mind Made Up” was transferred to the Salsoul label and an R&B classic was born. “I Got My Mind Made Up” reached #1 on both the R&B and disco charts and #20 on the Pop chart in the spring of  1979. The group’s debut Salsoul album was certified gold, the only one of the act’s albums to achieve that level of success. Carmichael left Instant Funk in 1982 and began a moderately successful solo career. He also sang background on several Bunny Sigler albums, and remained involved with music in other ways, including as a vocalist on Ward Brown’s “Where Should I Be.” May he rest in peace.

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