Record gurus, shop owners, and music historians Brewerytown Beats are at it again. They have a great history since their inception of being much more than a just a record store. Their founder Max Ochester has made it a point to preserve Philadelphia and surrounding areas music history and putting it back out in the world. The latest discovery, found while digging through the Sigma Sounds tape archives at Drexel University is funk/ soul band Power of Attorney. POA was formed at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution at Graterford (30 miles northwest of Philadelphia). The tale of how the band was put together is unique. After prison activities director Ted Wing broke ground on a new recording studio which was intended to help rehabilitate inmates through musical expression, he held an audition for more than 1600 inmates to be in the band. The line up Wing eventually chose was: William Smith (lead guitar), Charles McDowell (bass), Merion Wilson (tenor saxophone), Edward J.X. Smith (guitar), and Otis Graham (drums). After practicing, writing, and playing five hours a day they got a chance to record at Sigma. “Changing Man” came out of it, as did this whole record.
It tells the story of a man who made a mistake, and after a while in jail, he gets his head together, and realizes it’s time to straighten it out – Charles McDowell
Originally released on the Nicetown label in 1973 as a 45, it was sold to the public directly from the prison activities office. They only pressed 500 copies. The band continued to play and practice every day, and was eventually scooped up by James Brown and Polydor, who put out their only record, 1974’s From The Inside. They toured a bit outside prison, playing 400+ shows, opening for Stevie Wonder and making a television appearance as well on the Mike Douglas Show. This record is remixed and remastered. It’s got a funky beat, and you can bug out to it. Plus, some funky flute never hurt anyone, either. Top notch! Brewerytown Beat for the win again and again! Well done.