Here I sit on a Thursday night putting the finishing touches on yet another FMF entry. It’s the opening of the MLS season and my NY Red Bull are taking on the newest franchise, the Seattle Sounders. It’s great to have some football back here in America. But I digress, we’re not here to talk football, but rather, Funk. This particular post tonight found it’s way to me through the post via Stones Throw/ Now Again. It’s no secret I dig the label, and the great roster they have, artists old and new. Shout out to them for doing it right as usual. This is a treat, something that’s been out of print, but brought back to life by Now Again. Here’s the The Whitefield Brothers with “Buster” from Now Again’s reissue of In The Raw from 2001.
Let’s rewind back to 2001, shall we? The Modern Funk and Soul scene was for a select few. When this record first came out, there were no Dap Kings yet. Sharon Jones had just started to do her thing via her 45s, and the El Michels Affair were just wee ones playing gigs as the Might Imperials (Thunder Chicken anyone?). Here’s where the founding members of The Poets of Rhythm, Jan and Max Whitefield come into play. At that time, they came from Munich, Germany to New York to record this very record. When they approached now defunct Desco Records honcho Phillipe Lehman to record their African inspired Funk, (think Fela Kuti doing Meters covers, heavy drums and that great African rhythm), he was game. The sound, some may say is an acquired taste, like say, a Belgian white beer. What premonition guys like Gabriel Roth (co founder of Desco and Daptone Records), Leon Michels (El Michels Affair), and Neal Sugarman ( Daptone co-founder with Roth) had when they agreed to be involved with this project. The four, along with the Whitefields would go on to record a heavy, heavy record. They recorded and mastered the 7″ and 10″ records quickly. Soul Fire released a limited run of cds and vinyl pressings. Of course they sold out in a short time. Soul Fire went the way of the 8 track shortly after, and the Whitefields went on their way to the Modern Funk legends they are today.
This record, of course, to me, was ahead of it’s time. While not entirely an Afro Beat record, it’s bits and pieces of the genre shine through. The drums are super heavy (if you didn’t figure it out earlier), and the who’s who of the New York Funk and Soul scene prove that they knew what the hell they were doing in 2001 (and further that point), as they push the boundaries of the genre today with the great music they’re still putting out. This particular side, “Buster” is a new addition to the original LP. Drum and flute heavy, it could have been recorded by CCS or Sherlock Holmes and the Investigators, but it wasn’t. It may sound like 1970, but it was recorded within the last 8 years. You may have missed In the Rawthe first time around, but now here’s your chance the second time. The Whitefields (with a little help from their friends) prove that this Funk game is alive and well. I’ll see you over the weekend with hopefully some digging stories, as I have 2 digs scheduled. Keep Diggin’!
Buy The Whitefield Brothers In the Raw here
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