Thursday, September 08, 2011

Gritty New York Funk

GWP LP 2041, tracklist on back cover
Tonight goin' on down with the New York Pazant Brothers ... and two hot funky instrumentals. The way I knew them first was via GWP's 1971 compil- ation Soul, Black And Beautiful Volume 2 (GWP LP # ST 2041). The LP was released towards the end of '71 and was, together with »Volume 1«, the last output by GWP before the label folded (some time in '72, I am not sure about the later developments at GWP ... needs some further research). In any case it's one of the more important compilations of late '60s/early '70s soul & funk.

The album was produced by Ed Bland, a composer, arranger and A&R man of the GWP New York-based label (masterminded by Gerald »Jerry« W. Purcell). See them both on the photo below. Bland wrote a lot of songs for the Pazant Brothers, Eddie (sax) and Al (trumpet), including the two instrumentals you can hear below. The LP is considered a rare item, and this may be so. What is certain is that most of the (few) late '60s and early '70s recordings by the Pazant Brothers were known only to a chosen few before Ace Records / BGP issued the stuff on CD.

From BILLBOARD, April 26, 1969, page 8

Both instrumentals, »A Gritty Nitty« and »Chicken Scratch«, were actually recorded (and released on GWP singles) in 1969. And don't be fooled if on the back cover of GWP LP 2041 they are billed as »The Pazant Brothers« for one song and as »The Chili Peppers« for the other; both are identical (for the late-born: and of course not related to their »Red Hot« namesakes). Both tunes have since long been favorites in funk circles, and justly so. And forgive me the nerdy footnote that I've always wond- ered why the story of GWP and the Pazant Brothers in particular didn't make it in the otherwise instructive study Funk. The Music, The People, and The Rhythm of The One by Rickey Vincent (New York 1995).

»A Gritty Nitty« is as forceful a funk instrum- ental as you could ever imagine. Much more famous, however, is »Chicken Scratch«, and there's a reason for it: The tune was first released as the B-side of GWP single # 502 (much sought-after and insanely rare, it fetches many hundred dollars if on the market). The A-side features Betty Barney (with the Pazant Brothers aka Chili Peppers) and her monster sister funk song »Momma Momma«. Now, »Chicken Scratch« is the instrumental version of Betty's »Momma Momma«, and although the version feat. Betty can't be easily topped the instrumental version is just as hot. If it don't make you move nothing will.
                                                                                             The Pazant Brothers / »The Chili Peppers«:
»A Gritty Nitty« / »Chicken Scratch« from the GWP LP # ST 2041 (1971):

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