Just had a mail through from Wax Poetics with news of a significant release:
In 1971, America was in the throes of cultural revolution at home and military conflict abroad. While stationed in Germany, soldiers hailing from all corners of America battled it out in an Army stage-band competition. Runner-up East of Underground best captured the spirit of a turbulent America with their sweet-soul covers of the Impressions, Sly and the Family Stone, Funkadelic, and the Undisputed Truth.
The sound encapsulated on their ultra-rare Army promotional LP was not that of powerless soldiers trapped in a quagmire, but, instead, one of hope. This sense of hope is best reflected in song choice and the songwriting genius of America's greatest soul composers, from Curtis Mayfield to Motown's Norman Whitfield.
Unlike other obscure-funk reissues and compilations, East of Underground is immediately familiar, instantly gratifying, and endlessly playable. And especially poignant today. With covers of "People Get Ready," "I Want to Take You Higher," and "Smiling Faces Sometimes," the album's charm and sincerity will evoke profound nostalgia and insight into a time when music reflected life.
East of Underground’s musicianship shines throughout this record. The falsetto harmonies, gritty guitar, and all-encompassing drums are a testament to the group’s talent and the caliber of this superior album. With only a handful of copies known to exist, East of Underground is now reissued for the first time ever by Wax Poetics Records as their debut release. Available on digipak CD and hand-numbered limited-edition 180-gram vinyl (run of 2,000).
01 I Want to Take You Higher (Sylvester Stewart)
02 Smiling Faces Sometimes (Barrett Strong, Norman Whitfield)
03 (Don’t Worry) If There’s a Hell Below, We’re All Going to Go (Curtis Mayfield)
04 People Get Ready (Curtis Mayfield)
05 Getting Over
06 I’ll Bet You (Sidney Barnes, George Clinton, Theresa Lindsey) / California Dreamin’ (John Phillips, Michelle Phillips)
07 Popcorn / Oye Como Va (Tito Puente)
08 I Love You for All Seasons (Sheila Young)
09 East of Java (Mack David)
10 Walk on By (Burt Bacharach, Hal David)
There is a release party as follows:
Join Wax Poetics on Wednesday, August 29, for the East of Underground release party. East of Underground, an ultra-rare album of sweet-soul covers by American soldiers recorded in 1971, is the first release on the Wax Poetics Records label. The event features DJs Spinna (Beyond Real) and Amir (Kon & Amir; BBE).
Wednesday, August 29From 7pm until midnightReBar (147 Front Street, Brooklyn, NY)Take the F train to York Street or the A/C to High Street
Be sure to check out the Wax Poetics Record Rundown broadcasting live directly after the party, and every Wednesday night, from midnight until 2am on East Village Radio.