Before I get into today’s post, I want to take some time out and talk about what’s going on at FMF the day after Super Tuesday. I’m hoping that the Fleamarket Funk Family here in the United States went out and exercised your right to express your opinions through vote. Without your voice and vote, you can’t complain at what’s going on around you. No matter what, your vote means something, and with many people in countries who can’t vote, I urge you to take advantage of that. It’s been said that this year’s election will be the most important one of our lifetime, and without getting too political, I’m happy to be a part of it. I will ask this before I bring in the Funk and Soul: Are you ready?
When it comes to finding weird records, there is no shortage of them here in New Jersey. From Airline Flight Patterns to Don’t Talk to Strangers to Local High School Band performances, they seem to always have come my way. This record we have up for review today falls into that category. Ages ago I owned a business that sold streetwear, records, graffiti supplies, and yes, records. There was a record store up the street called Black Cat. It was run by the musician Ari Katz, lead singer of the band Lifetime. He had an eclectic taste in music, and you could always find something in there to your liking. The place closed, but he continued to sell at swap meets, online, etc. It was at the first Record Show at Asbury Lanes that he had a pile of stuff he needed to get rid of. This record was one of them. A quick shout out to the crew at Mass Corporation as the newest member of the family. Let’s take a look at The United States Navy Port Authority Soul Band and “Scoobe” on a US Government issued record.
This past year, Wax Poetics reissued the Holy Grail of cover records, The East of Underground. For those of you fortunate enough to have an extra $1800 or so, you can have the original or you could have paid considerably less for the reissue, but got liner notes, extras, etc. That could be debated in another forum, and well, check the Soul Strut archives for that one, because it was debated heavily. The USNPASB is really the poor man’s East of Underground. I’m ok with it. This band, comprised of 8 members (this is the week for large membered bands I guess) was created to travel around and help with recruiting people into the US Navy. Imagine that, the band comes to your High School or College, they play some funky covers and originals, and then you say: “Hey, the Navy is cool, I want to join!” I don’t think that would work in this day in age, but props to the US Navy for trying to be hip back in the day. As I mentioned earlier, the 8 member band was comprised of trumpet player Don Ledbetter, trombonist Mac Wright, piano/organist Jim Allen, saxophone player Mike Beegle, bassist Richard Reddick, guitarist Norman Clark, drummer David Carradine, and singer Rose Lewis. They would not only travel to recruit, but would travel for social gigs as well, getting rave reviews in the US and abroad. This side comes from their third record entitled Together, although widely distributed (as well as the two others), it has become a bit rare due to the demand. It does contain a few decent tunes, but today I’m going to put out “Scoobe”, which I’ve featured earlier on a FMF Podcast. If any member of the band is still around and would like to comment further on the escapades of the USNPASB, I’d welcome it.
“Scoobe” is a nice little upbeat number, where the Port Authority Band’s horn section plays back and forth with Rose Lewis’s cooing and sultry voice. Rose’s background in Pop and Gospel definitely shine through on this tune. It definitely reminds me of any number of early 70’s horn sections, except a notch lower. I’m not saying they are bad musicians at all, but it’s the raw, almost semi-pro feel of the tunes makes this record a keeper. Don’t get me wrong, the musicians on this record, while not seasoned vets are all experienced all the same. Whether playing in Navy marching bands, performing at the White House solo, or as members of earlier Navy bands The Commanders, it looks as if the USN knew how to put a recruitment band together. Don’t sleep on the military bands or odd records, you never know what you might find! Keep Diggin’!