Music News

Country Funk (1970)

Welcome to Obscuro, a feature where Up on the Sun dives deep into the world of vinyl oddities: private press jobs, major label cast-offs, and general thrift shop clutter that's thus far escaped anyone's attention. These LPs have been hiding out, collecting dust, until we come along, investigate, probe and listen. These are records, neglected by the years, given their moment in the blog-light.

Country Funk's 1970 debut album doesn't really have any country or funk etched in its grooves. If you are looking for something like that, allow me to suggest the music of Jim Ford or Joey Gregorash.

What the Country Funk does have in spades is some solid country-influenced boogie rock, with some psychedelic guitar work and kaleidoscopic harmonies.

Unlike many of our Obscuro entries, Country Funk has a pretty spiffy website, loaded with information about the whereabouts of the band. Their story is a one of classic missed chances and bad luck. Released in 1970, their debut was a hit with the critics and found the band traveling the nation, even opening for the Velvet Underground in Boston.

The album sold poorly, however, and the band's lineup was volatile. Comprised of dudes hip to the burgeoning folk-rock sound of L.A., songwriters Adam Taylor and Hal Paris, were joined by a rhythm section of Jeff Lockwood (bass) and drummers Joe Pfeifer and Verne Johnson. Despite high profile residences at places like Gazzari's, the group never found a strong foothold on the radio.

Which is a shame, too, because tracks like "Apart of Me," "Poor Boy," and "Comin' In" rock and reel with a classic West Coast ease, with the fuzzy guitars adding a crazy hard rock edge. Crate diggers have noticed, too, (see Beck's sampling of "Apart of Me" on "Sissyneck" from Odelay)

Fans of the band have kept the music alive. Their website even features a follow up album, Zuma (not to be confused with the Neil Young album of the same name), which is seeing release 40 years after it was recorded.

Details: Country Funk, released in 1970 on Polydor Records, catalog number: 24-4020

Google search reveals:  Their official site: Country Funk Online

Who bought this:  Long-haired burnouts, but sadly, not enough of them to get these guys funkin' on the charts.

Country Funk- Apart of Me by OBSCURO

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.

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