Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ebony Rhythm Campaign Sighin' & Groanin' Live

Ebony Rhythm Campaign Sighin' & Groanin' Live Snippet

I had a message through from the band to tell me of a new download available from them:

From late 1973 to late 1978, I had the rare privilege of being a member of the Ebony Rhythm Funk Campaign. Those early struggles of playing the "chittlin" circuit seem like a past life to me now. After the tragic loss of our friend and trumpet player Carl Haefeli in1978, I finally bowed to economic reality and wistfully took a slow but determined walk away from this "family" of musicians. I left my life as a funk musician and began working to support my wife and kids. Occasionally, I thought about what might have been. I saved some old boxes of tapes and photographs so I could have something to remember my old days on stage with the Funk Campaign. One tape in particular, titled Live at The Eldorado, had become a mystery to me over the years. I didn’t have a reel to reel deck so I couldn’t play the tape. Finally, in the summer of 2004, I reconnected with Lester Johnson in Indianapolis. Sadly, I found out that Tony Roberts had passed away, as well as Booby Townsend. I was excited to find that Matthew, Lester and Ricky were planning a reunion concert. They invited me to play. Little did I know the series of events that would follow.

Shortly after the first ERFC reunion concert in 2005, I picked up an old reel to reel deck from a friend of mine and finally satisfied my curiosity about the Live at the Eldorado tape. It turned out to be a live performance at the BlueBird in Bloomington, Indiana from, as near as I can tell, fall of 1974. Prior to hearing the tape I had been asking people in the group if they remembered an old tune we used to do called Sighin’ and Groanin’. A few cats remembered the tune but nobody could remember how the tune really went. After listening to almost the entire "mystery" Eldorado tape, there it was… the lost tune, Sighin’ and Groanin’. I knew I had uncovered a real treasure and it struck me that this tape had been sitting in a box in the hall closet for 27 years! The recording was rough and needed re-mixing, but thanks to current digital technology, we have been able to re-produce the live recording and we are excited to make this our first "never before released" historic ERFC Live recording.

For Funk Campaign fans this should be a real treat. Boobie is in rare form, nailing the guitar solo with a careful blend of "wall of sound" techniques and Hendricks inspired lines. The horns are pushing hard, Lester is playing counterpoint to Boobies licks, Ricky is funk personified on the organ and Matthew is weaving in and out of the tune like a New Orleans street drummer. And it’s all topped off with the signature vocal duo of Pam Tanner and Tony Roberts. If we ever stop missing Tony all we need to do is listen to his live vocals from this period and we miss him all over again. Pam frames the tune like a funk cheerleader and master of ceremonies, pulling in the live audience and gracing us with her uninhibited giggle at the end of the tune.

You can probably tell that I love these guys, and listening to this band at its 1974 peak always gives me a thrill. We hope it does the same for you!

Michael John Woods – Trombone

Pleased rop over to the band's MySpace to download the Sighin' & Groanin'.

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