Week 36: The White Bros.
Time to get our ears dirty with the musical offerings of Week 36. Have you ever heard of the group Brotherhood? Listened to their funky self-titled 1978 debut album? Know anything about The Fabulous Jades? Cold Heat? OK, it’s time to pay some well-deserved respect to the White Brothers!
I picked up Brotherhood’s debut LP earlier this summer (it’s been a good season for sure), and after a quick listen decided it would make a perfect post. The album is full of sweet funk typical of 1978…some EWF in the mix, Kool & The Gang too, even some Isley Brothers. Good grooves, nice arrangements and OK song writing – almost all of them written by the oldest of the White Brothers…Dwight White (who also plays bass). Three more brothers were in the band; Delbert (lead vocals and drums), Nathan (vocals and keyboards) and little brother Scottie (vocals and percussion)!
But the main reason I picked this album up was something else than the smooth late 70’s grooves. The White Brothers popped up on my radar a couple of years back, most thanks to legendary deep funk archeologist Keb Darge, who unearthed the stupid rare 7″ funk monster “Cold Heat” by late 60’s outfit Lil’ Lavair & The Fabulos Jades. And I remembered that the White Brothers (at least three of them) was part of that outfit…and that Delbert (aka “Lil’ Lavair”) White was the lead singer! They had dropped some funky 45’s in the late 60’s/early 70’s…but their recordings failed to make an impact at the time – it wasn’t until 30 years later they started to get the appreciation deserved.
Stones Throw affiliated Now-Again Records, run by beat purist Eothen “Egon” Alapatt (Stones Throw’s general manager), re-issued the über-rare “Cold Heat” 7″ in 2003 – and also included the cut on the comp “Cold Heat: Heavy Funk Rarities 1968-1974” in 2005. On Now-Again’s website I found a highly informative article by Katie Orloff (initially appearing in Southern California News in August 2004) called “Fame finally comes to The Fabulous Jades”…check this short excerpt out:
In 1969 these boys from San Bernardino loved to play music. They called themselves Lil’ Lavair & the Fabulous Jades. They played weddings and other events. They won local Battle of the Bands contests. They cut a single and dreamed of making it rich.
Today they’ve scattered. They include two school district superintendents, a retired hospital manager, a casino technician, a rabbi and a corrections officer. But they’re more than that. They’re classic funk. And for a long time they didn’t even realize it.
The Fabulous Jades broke up in about 1970, after their record didn’t take off and band members started to pursue other interests. But the funk movement continued to grow. Unbeknownst to them, their record had gained momentum in the United Kingdom’s funk scene. By the late 90s, it had reached the play list at a popular London nightclub, according to Now-Again Records, a company that re-released the group’s song, “Cold Heat,” last year.
Monday, a label manager with Stones Throw, Now-Again’s parent company, met with seven band members at the Radisson Hotel in downtown San Bernardino to hear their story and pitch the idea of possibly including “Cold Heat” on a future funk compilation album. For many of the Fabulous Jades members, it was the first time they’d seen each other in about 30 years. They laughed as they talked about not knowing their music had taken off.
“All your life, you’re going about your business an you think you’re accomplishing things. This comes back and pops up,” said Ralph Payan, 65, a retired manager at Patton State Hospital. “This is like icing on the cake.”
Don’t sleep on the full story right here!
Now check this preview clip including both the best song (in my opinion) on the “Brotherhood” LP, the breezy “Given You My Life” – as well as a taste of “Cold Heat”: (The preview clip includes several photos “borrowed” from Now-Again’s website)
So, you see…this isn’t really another one-off funk project by some nobody’s – this is an album offering closure to all of us who was blown away by the “Cold Heat”. It’s like stumbling across an unknown sequel to a favourite book or movie – and even though the sequel is never as good as the first one, it’s still like spending quality time with somebody you love! I don’t know about you, but shit like this is definitely worth a lot…to me at least! :¬)
Unfortunately, apart from the Fabulous Jades 45’s and the “Brotherhood” LP, I can’t seem to find more music by the White Brothers, neither have I found any additional info on the brothers themselves. They seem to have given up on their music altogether at the end of the 70’s – but that sure doesn’t mean we have to.
Well, maybe you should forget about the original “Cold Heat” 7″ – the only two copies of the record that have turned up since it was re-discovered has been sold for over $2000 each! It’s just plain wiser to opt for the Now-Again $1.98 digital download available here. Do it now – initiatives like this should be rewarded! But if you got some extra dough lying around, check these Fabulous Jades 45’s out over here! For a more reasonable $20, there’s a still sealed, original vinyl copy of Brotherhood’s 1978 LP available right here!
Props where props are due…the almost forgotten, yet fabulous White Brothers – Dwight, Delbert, Nathan and Scottie – 4BB salutes you!
(Ps. Yeah, almost forgot…don’t sleep on the “Cold Heat: Heavy Funk Rarities” compilation mentioned above, which also features favourites like Ebony Rhythm Band and Aristocrats Organization…AMG review here, for sale here and on iTunes!)