Monday, April 11, 2005

hoosier soul beat

It's been in my face for years, but I never dipped fully into Naptown's soul history; too swallowed by the Hoosier punk of the mid-70s and on, I guess. So it seems only right once I leave the state to begin a dig through the R&B funk of the Indianapolis scene -- six or so years before MX-80 and The Gizmos took hold 50 miles south. Jason Yoder's incredible 45 label database and soul discourse Indiana 45s had cemented a slight foundation in my minds-ear. The site is The Source for Indiana's soul music history. The Ebony Rhythm Band are the unsung backing band of the LAMP label and last year's Stone's Throw/Now-Again reissue brings it all together, with richly detailed liners, photos and news clippings.

The final -- and most exciting -- installment in Now Again Records' LAMP reissue series -- a trawl through the funk catalog of Indianapolis's most prolific soul and funk label of the 60s and 70s. The music has been remastered from the analog master tapes and the band's history has been annotated and culled into extensive liner notes. 'Soul Heart Transplant', the title cut of the anthology, is fitting. The Band couldn't help but transplant their Meters-inspired, psychedelic grooves onto not only their original compositions but also onto any funky tunes from the day. As such, groups like The Doors, Blood Sweat and Tears and Cream all receive a heavy fun workout via the Ebony Rhythm Band. This CD runs the gamut from superb, psychedelic funk to backbeat-grounded, heavy funk.

The Ebony Rhythm Band's sole 45 release:

The Ebony Rhythm Band - Soul Heart Transplant
The Ebony Rhythm Band - Drugs Ain't Cool


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