Trouble Funk – “So Early In the Morning” (RC500) and “Let’s Get Small” (RC501) (1982)

SAM_0067Someone paid mucho dinero for these in 1982–my handy-dandy historic inflation calculator reckons almost £18 ($27) in 2013 money. Was it worth it? Well, these party anthems have little going for them in terms of tune, but a lot by way groove and atmosphere. So let’s say you lose on the extras, but still get by on the percentages. For music with no greater ambition than engendering the shaking of booties, this counts as a moral victory. And let’s not forget that I only paid 50p a pop yesterday for these beauties.SAM_0068

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Published in: on August 4, 2013 at 10:13 am  Comments (5)  

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  1. and HMV had the cheek to say ONLY £5.99 for a 12″ single with 2 tracks on it! okay, it’s an import but it’s still a rip-off in my opinion. and the even more amazing thing about it was that in those days people sometimes forked out for such stiff prices for non-radio-friendly club tracks like these without even hearing them first…

    when i first started buying records in the early 70’s (around the age of 10) i remember that my local wh smiths still actually had some listening booths, which i gather were commonplace in the 50’s and 60’s. however they disappeared soon afterwards, presumably on the basis that you were much more likely to buy that single you desired having already heard it on radio 1 or one of the numerous commercial radio stations that were cropping up then. but what about albums that were a far more substantial fiscal commitment? unless you had access to a copy via someone who knew who owned it already (and they may have taken a leap of faith when they bought it), there was no way back then to check they were worth buying without listening first as they never got played on UK radio stations. the only real point of reference was reviews in weekly music papers, by hacks who may well have been in the pocket of the record company and gave high praise for that reason alone. that was the norm back then and yet in retrospect it seems absurd – would you employ such a hazardous approach for purchasing other goods? it’s a bit like buying a second-hand car without even taking it for a test drive, relying solely on the opinion of the dealer!

    as a fan of funk and disco i rarely got to hear much of it on the radio (or indeed most of the discos i went to as i lived in yokel country), so often relied on the reviews in “blues and soul” magazine for tips. as a specialist magazine i think the writers aimed to give honest opinions which usually turned out to be fairly accurate (in as much “writing about music is like dancing about architecture” *), but even they could get it wrong… which i discovered to my cost when on their recommendation i shelled out a fiver of my hard-earned summer-job shekels (around £20 in today’s money) for the debut eponymous LP by slave, only to find that singles apart (that i had already) it was a complete waste of money. after that i steered well-clear of albums, limiting my investments to singles… and even then only bought them without trying to give them a listen first if they were in the ex-chart (or rather non-chart in the majority of cases) bargain bins!

    regarding trouble funk, i took a listen on youtube (something you couldn’t do back then!) and found these tracks to be an uneasy mix of funk, rap, and 80’s dance. and the band did themselves no favours by putting the style of music they played in their name, thus both limiting their options and dooming their future prospects. there were several acts using this as a misguided promotional ploy in the early 80’s (funkapolitan, the funkmaster, etc), but it seems to be almost unique to that form of music – i can’t think of any act that had the word “country”, “disco”, “metal” or “emo” as part of their name. actually, the crusaders made that mistake early in their career by billing themselves as “the jazz crusaders”. fortunately for them they soon had the sense to ditch the “jazz” bit which probably not only extended their lifespan by several decades, but also didn’t make them look a bit silly when they leapt aboard the disco bandwagon with “street life”!

    * attributed to american actor-comedian-musician martin mull, best known in blighty for his recurring role as a the cafe manager in “rosanne”

    • Obviously, I would never pay £18 for a 12″ single–I don’t write for Thrifty Vinyl for nothing (actually, I do)–unless I knew I could sell it for a lot more.

      You’re right about attaching your genre to your brand name; it’s usually done for short term gain by novelties and band wagon jumpers.

      Re: dancing about architecture quote, I alway thought it was Frank Zappa who said that. And interestingly, it was Steve Martin who, I believe, coined the phrase, “Let’s Get Small” either as a euphemism for drug taking or literally reducing in size I can’t remember which.

  2. Obviously, I would never pay £18 for a 12″ single–I don’t write for Thrifty Vinyl for nothing (actually, I do)–unless I knew I could sell it for a lot more.

    You’re right about attaching your genre to your brand name; it’s usually done for short term gain by novelties and band wagon jumpers.

    Re: dancing about architecture quote, I alway thought it was Frank Zappa who said that.

  3. sorry – i’ve never “got” steve martin… even before he sold out. i think his brand of humour (or perhaps i should say “humor”) is too american for my taste… don’t worry offended yankees, i don’t “get” peter kay either (perhaps too northern for my tastes despite me living in manchester for 15 years now – what a xenophobe i am ha ha)

  4. to paraphrase one of manchester’s comic (anti) heroes bernard manning: steve martin is as funny as rabies at a guide dogs’ home!


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