What we have here is a midweek heavy piece of Deep South Funk. I got this record from Pops, and without even listening to it on my portable, I knew it was going to be good. How good? Well, I found out shortly. This side was one of the best records I have picked up in the field lately. Here is The Electric Express with “I Can’t Believe We Did (the Whole Thing)” from 1972 on AVCO Records.
Avco is no stranger to good music. Originally started by film producer Joseph E. Levine, who was the head of Avco Embassy Pictures, he also had Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore on board with him as well. These producers/songwriters/performers would help Avco Embassy (later just Avco) make a name for themselves with their eclectic roster of bands and performers. Their roster has everything from Funk, Soul, Psych, Pop, Folk, even Country and Western. While not really a label that had charting records, they did manage to get one to reach the R & B charts, Della Reese’s Black is Beautiful. Despite their non charting efforts, in a digger’s world, Avco had some gems. Artists like Donnie Elbert, the aforementioned Della Reese, The Chambers Brothers, and even Van Macoy can be found if you dig around. I really like the Donnie Elbert stuff, who out of the lot I just mentioned, has the better sides. Avco was purchased by Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore in 1975, where they changed the name to H & L. Lasting only a few more years, they eventually went bankrupt.
There is not much to dig up about this band, other than they are out of the Greensboro, NC area and originally released records on Linco. Their biggest single was in 1971’s “It’s the Real Thing”, (#15 on the Soul Charts). They also put out sides “Where You Coming From” and “Life Ain’t Easy”, as well as this burner we have right here. The song itself was written by James Powell and Vick Hudson (who also is attributed to the group Inner City Function, who released “Don’t You Need Someone Like Me (I Can Set Your Love Free)” also on Linco.) It was produced by Walter Grady, who has been involved in 1974’s “People Get Down” by the Second Movement, E. W. Funktionaire’s “Noah” on Graytom , and “Stick Your Finger in the Ground (and Watch the World Go Round)” by Bridge, Also on Graytom. It does appear that there definitely was some shady dealings with the man, which may or may not have attributed to the disappearance of The Electric Express. Now was there a full length release from these cats in the works from Atlantic ( the Linco sides were distributed by them)? This we will never know for sure.
This record is a a funk bomb. In between “Give the Drummer Some More” by Little Hooks w/Ray Nato & the Kings, and any James Brown call and response, 34 years later this side still stands strong. As they go around from guitar to bass to drums, plus throw in a dash of horns, the band could really do the whole thing. It doesn’t hurt that here’s a great drum break in this side, either. They keep the groove movin’ and before you know it, the better part of 3 minutes is gone, similar to the way the band disappeared. This side is a definite keeper, and I will be keeping my eyes out for those Linco sides as well. See you Friday with some Soul.
PS: I want to shout out Jason Perlmutter of Carolina Funk and Carolina Soul fame who spoke to me in brief on the band. He’s got a 3 hour special called The Carolina Soul Radio Show this Thursday the 21st on WXYC.org out of Chapel Hill, NC from 9PM to midnight. The following night he’ll be performing with J-Rocc of the Beat Junkies. If you’re in the area, please check him out. Keep Diggin’!