Monday, August 25, 2014

"Funk to the Folks" By The Soul Searchers

Chuck Brown and his crew get waist-deep in some raw, uncut funk on this dope track. The groove is just so irresistibly funky—super-tight horns, tasty wah-wah guitars licks, powerful drumming and heavy bass; it just unadulterated, no-frills funk. The track also boasts a sweet trombone solo from John Buchanan.

The track is from the Soul Searchers’ second album Salt of the Earth (1974) and was penned by Buchanan. The album is a quality selection of R&B and funk tracks and contains the minor hit “Blow Your Whistle.”And the drum break on the instrumental “Ashley’s Roachclip” has been sampled by numerous artists from various genres. Additionally, Salt of the Earth has been cited as one of most sampled albums in hip-hop history.

The Soul Searchers were formed in Washington, D.C. in 1966. The band eventually became an integral part of D.C.’s underground music scene by dropping top-shelf, hard-hittin’ funk and soul tracks. And they were a fantastic live act. The band never failed to get everyone in a fun, booty-shakin’ party mood at their concerts.

Late bandleader/guitarist/songwriter and singer Chuck Brown was the innovator of Go-go music, which is a bass-heavy, percussion-filled funk subgenre that fuses R&B, funk and hip hop. Spoken-word vocals are also a prominent feature of Go-go. The style originated in Washington D.C. in the mid-‘70s and quickly blew up locally. During that time, Go-go was blasted at house parties and clubs across D.C. And Brown was such a pivotal figure of the genre that he became known as “The Godfather of Go-go.”

Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers are probably most recognized for their 1978 smash “Bustin’ Loose.” The mammoth, chart-topping mega-jam put Go-go on the map nationally and is now considered a funk/R&B classic. However, the national Go-go craze was short-lived, but it remains very popular in the D.C. area.

The lineup for the Soul Searchers at the time they released “Funk to the Folks” was Chuck Brown (guitar, lead vocals); John Buchanan (trombone, piano, synthesizer, percussion, vocals); John Euell (bass); Kenneth Scoggins (drums, percussion); Lloyd Pinchback (flute, saxophone, percussion); Bennie Braxton (organ, vocals); Lino Druitt (congas, bongos, percussion); and Donald Tillery (trumpet, percussion, vocals).

Brown died on May 16, 2012 at age 75, leaving behind a rich musical legacy. The legendary musician is considered an institution in D.C.  A big tribute/celebration was held in Brown’s honor at Northeast Washington Park, in Washington, D.C. on Friday, 8/22/14, which would have been the Go-go pioneer’s 78th birthday. The ceremony included an unveiling of a memorial statue in Brown’s likeness, as well as a dedication from D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, who marked that day Chuck Brown Day. The tribute also included a mosaic wall that depicts Brown at various stages of his life and career. And Mayor Vincent declared that part of park will now be known as Chuck Brown Memorial Park. The event also included a concert from Brown’s band. It was a well-deserved tribute to a great talent whose art enriched D.C. in so many ways.

And on August 19, a posthumous Chuck Brown album, entitled Beautiful Life, was released. The album contains nine previously unreleased tracks that Brown and his band recorded.  The collection also features guest appearances from Faith Evans, Doug E. Fresh, Wale, Raheem DeVaughn and others.

Beautiful Life album at Amazon

Related blog entry: Donna Summer and Chuck Brown Left a Legacy of Great Music

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