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The Brothers Funk: Rare New York City Funk 1969-1975, CD (£11.50)
There are certain things that we always like at BGP and foremost in that list is funky 45s with a groove. Somehow the attraction of those shiny black circles is enhanced if they come from someplace with an almost mythical aura – Memphis, the windy city or possibly the Big Apple. Fortunately for us the boys over at Kent have been looking for the same sort of thing for years, except they don’t really have much use for the rasping horns and the syncopated bass line, They are looking for that uptown soul beat, and so leave us all sorts of wonderful things to salve our appetite for the good groove. The latest of their subjects was the GWP Productions and Records Group. In amongst certain very big Northern records and chunks of sweet harmony soul was some very fine funk, most of it featuring the Pazant Brothers band in some form or other.
The Pazant Brothers were the brainchild of Eddie and Al Pazant and had been gigging around in between Eddie’s stints in the horn section of the Lionel Hampton Band. They got the material to go with their sound when they met producer/ writer Ed Bland who drafted them in to the set up at GWP where he was an in house producer.
The Pazant Brothers backed many of Ed’s productions, but they also started to put out 45s under there own name, and over the next couple of years they made four singles (one under the name of the Chilli Peppers) and a couple of tracks on the various artists samplers. The music was dirty funky instrumental whose titles – ‘Skunk Juice’, ‘Juicy Lucy’, ‘Chicken Scratch’ – give you a feel of the sort of sound that you were going to get. We love it!
At the end of those two years GWP was winding down and the band and Bland went there separate ways. The Pazant Brothers recorded a single for the Priscilla label before recording an album with Gene Redd at De-Lite Records. Unfortunately only two singles appeared from this liaison (we’ve included both sides of the most sought after one), and the tapes for the album have long since vanished.
In 1975 Ed Bland had a new A&R gig, this time at Vanguard Records and remembered his old friends and signed them. By the power of international licensing deals the – now highly sought after – album that followed makes up the remainder of our CD. The album updated some of their earlier cuts and added to them a bunch of new compositions to make an excellent album.
As I said at the beginning, there are certain things that we love. The Pazant Brothers are definitely one of them.
By Dean Rudland