FUNK / SOUL    >>    


THE FREE MIND  (Just Jammin' / After we're gone)
Numero Group / Twin Town      

"Get On Up," issued in 1967 on Bunky Records, was a godsend for Milwaukee vocal group the Esquires, who would sell a million copies of their debut. In 1970, Charles Small auditioned with the Esquires, securing the duties of guitarist in Navajo Train, their backing band. But as Navajo Train began to falter, Small escaped into his new group Free Mind. Small drew Marcus Robinson, Jimmie Rogers, Reginald Humphrey, and Floyd Cheatham into the group, and after hearing rumors of opportunities in Minnesota, the band relocated to the Twin Cities. Free Mind caught the eyes of KUXL's Ray Moss and Jimmy Smith, who signed on as managers. Moss and Smith then scheduled time at Kay Bank Studios to track a single released on George Garrett's Twin Town imprint. A few months later, Free Mind wound its way back to Milwaukee, and a disastrous reunion tour with the Esquires left the group in shambles." Numero Group

Cover/Record : Generic / NM


UNION  (Strike / Come to my house for lunch)
Numero Group / Mesa Records      

"Rather than another guided-missile single aimed straight at the charts, Union's "Strike" b/w "Come To My House For Lunch" was a songwriting demo, meant to showcase the compositional abilities of Alfred Jesse Smiththe man already known better to Billboard readers as Brenton Wood. "Gimme Little Sign," his 1967 smash for Double Shot Records, is the hit song most associated with the Compton-via-Shreveport talent, and while Brenton Wood's given name appears on the "Gimme" single alongside credits for two Double Shot producers, Woodfor all appearances simply a singer of songswas actually quite prolific as a composer. Union never performed live, but the group featured an all-star ensemble including Sterling Smith, Al Mckay, Ed Green, George Semper, Phil Kelsey, Gail Anderson. The single was released on Mesa Records, which belonged to Matt Hill, brother of Z. Z. Hill. Matt was a promoter more aiming to rep talent to fellow insiders than to sell records, but Mesa's Union 45 serves as a vital snapshot of Wood's career as it passed out of the spotlight during the early 1970s." Numero Group

Cover/Record : Generic / NM


NOW  (Land of Now / Lovin you is easy)
Numero Group / Now      1976

"After six years of back and forth between failed vocal groups at Bruce Clarke's CVS label in New Jersey and lurking in the shadows of Columbus' Capsoul concern, tenor Jimmy Radford traded hotel key for house key in Columbus and shacked up with Mary Guillaumez, recently separated from James Guillaumez of free-funk outfit Earth's Delight. Any bitterness over the love triangle soon dissolved when James and Radford became musical allies, and they were joined by Glen Dunlap, Reuben Washington, and Tim Whitmire to form the group Now. In 1976, Now began sessions at Mark and Donald Spangler's Kingsmill Recording Studio, where they tracked "Land of Now" b/w "Lovin' You Is Easy," the latter of which had appeared in an earlier version on Radford's CVS sessions that became the mysterious 1978 Graham International LP. The "Land Of Now" 45's label teased that its sides had been "Selected from the album In The Beginning", but that LP never did materialize, as Radford was underwhelmed by the single's performance. Through Stone Man Productions, Now locked down local residencies in Columbus, and the group lived on for a decade before crumbling in 1986." Numero Group

Cover/Record : Generic / NM


HIFIDELICS  (Hifidelics groove / Quiptown)
Numero Group / Quip      

"The steel boom of the 1940s set off a wave of pop-up rust belt towns, each producing its own temporary culture. Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, is among the smaller steel communities, but its relative isolation and large African-American population created a short-lived soul town in the 1970s. The teenage group Hifadelics, originally named Hollow Grooves, coalesced in the late 1960s, and in 1973 manager George Perkins led them into Hartman & Associates' studio in Pittsburgh to record their only single, "Hifidelics Groove" b/w "Quiptown." Despite the typographical error on the 45, Hifadelics were signed by Ray Mitchell's Pittsburgh Music Industries, which immediately put them on the rust belt circuit. When the Jones & Laughlin Steel Mill closed up shop in 1980, Hifadelics went silent with it. The newly jobless band membership had to skip Aliquippa for employment, accounting for just a handful of the 18,000 souls the town would lose over the next three decades." Numero Group

Cover/Record : Generic / NM


THIRD GENERATION  (Mother nature / Love is gonna rain down on me)
Numero Group / Prison Soul      

"A pensioned high school art teacher with a strong social conscience, Ellis Haraka applied for an opening at Georgia Industrial Institute in 1974, a minimum-security prison camp in Alto, Georgia, to teach remedial reading and GED preparation. After selling the warden on converting the art room into a rehearsal space and rescuing gear from a defunct music program, Haraka watched Georgia Industrial's band form spontaneously. Inmates Roderick Willis, Linwood Moore, Michael Cody, Eugene Bostic, Willie "Shoeshop Slim" Zackery, Kenny Rewis, Eddie McCluskey, and Rufus Amis thus formed The Third Generation, rehearsing regularly with Haraka through 1977, who then painstakingly arranged for a field trip to Atlanta's Precision Studios. "Love Is Gonna Rain Down On Me" b/w "Mother Nature" was issued with the group's own PRISON SOUL banner, and over the next few years the group disbanded naturally, as members completed their jail time and rejoined civilian life." Numero Group

cover/Record : Generic / NM

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