=Monday, August 25, 2008

Fair Skin Man - Broad Street Gang

Welcome back listeners!

Regulars around these parts have probably noticed a few changes. First, there's the face-lift. Now that I've stuck with this longer than I ever actually though I would, I figured it was time to make this place look a little classier. I've also included a section to announce live outings. I'm not doing much live work at the moment, but figured it would be worth announcing if and when opportunities arise. Finally, I've included a new section highlighting my favorite funky compilation at the moment. At this point, there won't be any reviews tagged to this section as most of these selections will have been expertly reviewed elsewhere (e.g. this month's selection was covered in Waxpoetics #29).

Now, back to the business...

I'd like to start today's post by thanking Mr. Grogan once again for cooking up something nice for all of us last week. I'd also like to thank Vincent the Soul Chef from Fufu Stew for the shout-out a few days back. Hopefully he'll whip up something tasty for the Trunk in the not-to-distant future.

Today's single is a nice slice of Philly funk from the Broad Street Gang.

Fair Skin Man - Broad Street Gang - Cougar

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to uncover much info on this group*. What I can tell you is that they released a few of singles and maybe a full-length at some point in their career. Today's selection on the Cougar label was produced by Mitchell Rowe, who is also credited with writing the track, and was engineered by 'Jungle Joe Regent', although neither of these names are familiar to me. Regardless of information on the Broad Street Gang, Fair Skin Man, is stone cold funky and should definitely feed your funky need until a new single is dropped in the Trunk next week.

*If anyone out there has any additional information on the Broad Street Gang, I'd really appreciate it if you could send it along to me.


funky16corners said...

My pleasure.
Here's something I cut and pasted from my article that ran with Funky16Corners Radio v.48:
"Since back in the day I’ve been picking up sides by a Philly mystery band called the Broad Street Gang, with sides on at least three different labels. One of those 45s featured a tune called ‘Free the Black Man’s Chain’, as well as a reference to it having come from a show of some kind. It was only recently that I discovered that there was – if not a show – a soundtrack to a show by a group called the Afro American Ensemble which featured not only ‘Free the Black Man’s Chains’ but another version of a tune released by the Broad Street Gang, ‘Fair Skin Man’. The versions of ‘Free the Black Man’s Chains’ are different, and the one I bring you here is from the LP. I’ll have to do a Broad Street Gang feature here in the future."

I have one other 45 on the Cougar label. I can't remember the group now but if memory serves it's a female, sweet soul number.

greg a.k.a. DJ GA said...

As always, Larry knows the score. Thanks for the information.

Duck said...

My comment is concerning the Broad Street Gang. The base player on this particular track is my brother "James Alexander Fox" which is his stage name. I was in the studio with Chester Greere and Mitch AKA Mitchell Rowe when severel of the soundtracks for the LP were recorded.

mitchell rowe said...

fair skin man , by the broad street gang made # 7 r&b in 1972
the broad street gang was the
"gospel capri's" featuring the grier brothers (3) and "starvin marvin" who played trash can .
we met on the corner of broad and spruce in philadelphia at 2 am on a summer night . after the r&b hit of fair skin man , we went on to produce the opera " free the black mans chains " which was released on Lloyd Prices's GSF label . musicians on the sessions were myself , mitchell rowe , bobby eli ,len pakula ,daryl hall ,ron baker , norm harris , the raelettes , strings by don renaldo , charts by richie rome , trombone by ed cascarella , french horn by jon dorn , and of course ray charles on electric. regent sound was the studio "regent sound" owned by bob lifton , which was doing the original saturday night live , jungle joel regent was joel fein the engineer . tunes of the opera are , free the black mans chains , slave( s-l-a-v-e ) , it's a sad black world , north to the promised land ( movin' on up ) - later to be the theme song to the jefferson's ) , black is black , gone , somebody bigger than you and i , love (l-o-v-e), tommorrow the sun will shine , soul president , and the finale :
the imnitable " we are here " , penned by bobby eli and myself.
the opera : "free the black mans chains " by the afro american ensemble , predicted acurately the first president of the usa almost 40 years before it's time , to be a black .

greg a.k.a. DJ GA said...

Thanks a ton, Mitch. This information is really great to have. Did you have any involvement in any other Philly groups other than the Broad Street Gang?

mitchell rowe said...

a happy hello to "jim Fox" , who played bass on "fair skin man" .
best to you jim , and mr. duck : happy to hear from you .

mitchell rowe said...

greg : anyone who wishes a cd copy of the opera , originally known as
" the gospel street opera " , later known as " free the black mans chains " ( released on GSF ) ,
can e mail me at
and i will will burn one and mail it at no charge .

PAX said...

Hi all the bloggers,thanks for this useful info,and cograts F.U.N.K. for your nice blog.
I have a beautiful spanish promo copy of "Free the black man´s chain" on "Avco Embassy" label(?!?!),saved from an old radio station.Spanish 45´s come with a sleeve,so you can read some info in it,and yes! The Grier Bros did the arregments and Michell Rowe is the composer.Thanks Mitchell for this beautiful music and for the info around the recording sessions.

mitchellrowe said...

the engineer on " Fair Skin Man "
was KENNY PRESENT . Kenny , later known for "BLUE MAGIC " ," THE MANHATTENS " , & among others , VINCE MONTANA'S "SAL SOUL ORCHESTRA " .

Big Norm said...

My name is Norm Strother and I replaced Chester Greer in the "Gang" in the early 70's. The bass player, James Freeman who we called "Brother Fox" recruited me as a youngling. I lived with him and his sister Brenda who recently passed away and became her "main man". Fox still lives in Philly. Chester and Junior Greer soon left the band and we went on to play with the funk scene on the East coast.