=Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rocking Chair - Brothers of the Ghetto

After a VERY long hiatus, I've finally found some free time to resume providing funky nuggets for your listening pleasure. In the time since I've been withdrawn from the blogosphere this site passed the one-year anniversary mark, an event that unfortunately passed by without any commemoration by yours truly (it's not that I didn't want to do something. This site has always been a "labor of love" that sometimes needs to take the back-burner to real-life responsibilities).
Hopefully, now that I've got a better handle on the whole being a dad thing, I'll be able to get back to a level of output similar to what was common in the "early" days of Trunk of F.U.N.K.

With the extended break from mixes and singles running through my mind, I thought I'd mark my return with a blistering funk 45 from a group out of the southside of Chicago.

Rocking Chair - Brothers of the Ghetto - Ghetto

The bits of information that I have on this band are few and far between. The Brothers of the Ghetto marked the first instance of recording, arranging, and performing original music for bass player Sam Cockrell. As far as I'm aware, this 45, on the Ghetto label, is the only recording by the group known as the Brothers of the Ghetto. This is recording is not, however, the only recording by the core group of musicians. Sometime after recording this 45, the group changed their name to Majik and recorded three 45s with Willie Mitchell for the Hi label (including the highly sought dancer "Back into your Heart"). After this time, I have no idea what happened to most of the musicians in the group. What I do know is that Cockrell later went on the record a minor national hit, "Gotta Get Up" with Kevin Bell of Kool and the Gang fame. Since that time, Cockrell has remained musically active, recording and performing with his group The Groove.

Today's single, "Rocking Chair", blasts out of the gate with a short, choppy drum break that's guaranteed to get beat nerd ears ringing. Luckily, the short break isn't what makes this track, but rather the full band joining in at a similar raucous pace after only a few bars of open drums to really get things moving. When everything gets going full speed ahead, it's clear that this 45 packs the kind of energy that is guaranteed to get people out of their chairs and onto the dance floor. Clearly, that must have been what the band had in mind, as the vocals serve little purpose beyond describing in detail how to make your body do the "Rocking Chair" (if you listen closely, unlike a lot of other 'dance craze 45s', I think the vocals herein allow for a pretty great mental image of what the guy on stage doing the "Rocking Chair" must have looked like). All in all, this 45 encompasses everything that funk 45 fans look for: a great party single, a killer break, and the relished, yet rarely found energy that truly defines the funk 45.

Enjoy, and I'll be back in the next few days with an all-new mix dedicated entirely to an oft-overlooked instrument, the funky flute.

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