Photo Courtesy of Black Top Records
It’s midweek and only two days away from the 4th and Kingsley Soul Club night featuring the Budos Band performing live, and myself and Larry Grogan spinning Funky Soul 45s until closing. It’s going to be a momentous night at the World Famous Asbury Lanes. You see, no band like the Budos has ever graced the stage. There has not been one Afro Soul band to come through this venue, but on Friday December 21st, things are gonna change. Like Ghostface Killa said: It’ll “Never Be the Same Again……” Ask anyone who’s ever seen the Budos Band live, and they will tell you the same thing: These guys play music like it was supposed to be played. So if you’re withing driving distance, I will say get your ass off the couch on a Friday night and check out a really great band. Plus you’ll be checking out two good DJs (tooting my own horn here), playing music you’re not likely to hear at your local tavern or club. That being said, I’m gonna put out a side today from a cat who is straight out of New Jersey. You know I like to represent the Porkroll State as much as I can, and I figured since the song I really wanted to do has a skip in it (if anyone has an extra copy for sale, please click the contact link on the right), but until I get a clean copy, this will have to do! Say hello to Tyrone Ashley & the Funky Music Machine with “Let Me Be Your Man” on Phil L.A. of Soul Records.
Now if you know Funk and Soul, you know Plainfield, NJ is no stranger to the genre. With bands like Sammy Campbell’s (later on aka Tyrone Ashley) Del Larks, and band who was often in competition with George Clinton’s band the Parliaments. The Del Larks would go on to have a few Doo Wop hits in the late 50’s with “Lady Love” and “Bubblegum Doll” on East/ West Records. Campbell would also release the record “I Will Never Forget” (with a teen Eddie Hazel on guitar) a under the name Sammy & the Del Larks on Ea-Jay. Following this would be a blown audition for The Ed Sullivan Show , and the inception of his own label, Queen City Records. Queen City would garnish the hit “Job Opening” in 1964, but by the time his old competitor George Clinton was starting to take off in 1967, Campbell and the Del Larks were grounded. What to do? Well if you’re a Sammy Campbell, you adopt a new name and image, and become Tyrone Ashley & the Funky Music Machine. He then puts out this record and goes on to play the Apollo Theater with Al Green and Wilson Pickett. He does, however, fade into obscurity after that, sticking to recording in his studio called “The Record Hut”. However, there is a happy ending to this story. The guys at Truth and Soul Records find a record, do some research, and get in contact with Campbell. The rest is history because T&S have gone on to revive his career, release some 7″s, and get him back into the studio for more recordings. This is exactly the thing I applaud here at FMF. This music has to be heard, and if these cats can do it again and get paid for it, I mean they deserve it, I say do it. Campbell has also recorded with/ under the name Sagittarian Fire, and Black Fire, as well as the aforementioned groups.
“Let Me Be Your Man” is some sweet, sweet Soul. While Ashley pleads his sweet Soul serenade, the backup singers harmonic influence straight from his Doo Wop days shine right through. The man is seriously a star, and it’s really too bad that for whatever reason, he was stuck working construction instead of doing music full time after the Del Larks disbanded. This is exactly the music that I want to keep alive. Whether it’s the sweet Soul coming out of New Jersey, the Psych Funk out of the Midwest, or the Bay Area Sound from San Francisco, I want to keep it all alive. These artists deserve to be recognized and the real music needs to make a comeback. I’ll see you all on Friday night in Asbury Park. You’ll see and hear what I’m talking about then, live. Keep Diggin’