Well we had a big turn in the weather this weekend. The Summer like conditions dropped back into the 50’s and brought rain, which deterred me from getting my dig on on Saturday morning. Not to worry though, I believe I have a few 7″ records that are piling up in my queue. This one is a recent purchase, and on second thought I should have bought both copies the guy was offering. I’m happy with this piece of Funk though, so much that I featured it as the first track on my collaboration with DJ Jack the Ripper, Funk and Soul for Losers. Get on down with The Counts, and an aptly entitled record, “Funk” from the Hotlanta Sound label Aware.
The Fabulous Counts, as they would start out as, were formed in 1968 in Detroit, Michigan. They were comprised of: Mose Davis (organ), Leroy Emanuel (guitar), Demo Cates (alto sax), Andrew Gibson (drums), Jim White (tenor sax) and Raoul Keith Mangrum (percussion). Typical story of the time, the band backs national acts while they come to town, plays locally and makes a name for themselves. They would eventually hook up with producer Richard “Popcorn” Wylie, who would record their classic “Jan Jan” on Detroit label (and Atlantic affiliate) Moira. Like so many of these bands, and god damn if it bums me out to keep hearing the same story over and over, the commercial interest for this urban, edgy, Funk band was slim. Detroit Funk would keep rolling though, and they would release one full length on Cotillion, Jan Jan, produced by Oliie McLaughlin. Their string of 7″s, “Get Down People/ Lunar Funk” and “Dirty Red” on Moira, “Pack of lies” on Westbound, and this line up and name changed 45 have solidified them with some cult staus among the diggers. Both of the full lengths on Cotillion and Westbound have been reissued, and they were featured on the What It Is! box set. As far as the Aware record label, it was started by Mike Thevis, and besides the cool owl and “Hotlanta Sound” tag line on the label, boasted such acts as Delia Gartrell, King Hannibal, Loleatta Hollaway, Deep Velvet, and the Counts among others.
“Funk” is the epitome of a description of the genre. If someone would ask me, what exactly is this Funk music you’re so crazy about? I feel confident I could pull out this gem (and definitely not their best) of a 45 and illustrate my point with it. Funky organ, check. Great wah-wah guitar, check. Midtempo funky ass beat, check. Inaudible mumbling and screaming at some point, check. Even though the Fabulous Counts changed their name, their location, and some of their players, they remained true to themselves and kept it funkay. It didn’t hurt that their publishing company was called Fudgie Lips, I mean if any of the members read this, please contact me, I need to know that story. See you midweek with some Soul Jazz organ. Keep Diggin’!