One Funky, Over-Qualified Monkey (Tuff City Side)
The embodiment of funk
"The Monkey That Became President, Part 1" (Tom T. Hall)
Brotherhood, JB's Records, 1975
from Funky Funky New Orleans, Volume 4, Funky Delicacies/Tuff City, 2005
He's on a looooong vacation at his jungle retreat
OK. Let’s dispense with what little I know about this side first. It’s from a hard to find single on JB’s Records, a label owned by Senator Jones, who also operated Hot Line, Superdome, Hep’ Me and a few others in New Orleans. Cynthia Sheeler, credited with the arrangement, was also a JB’s artist. As a matter of fact, the next release on the label was hers, “I’ll Cry Over You, Part 1”. I’ve also got a couple of other singles by her on Superdome and Phil-L.A. of Soul (we’ll have to get into that later). I’ve found little on Brotherhood, the group, though. The Funky Delicacies CD from whence this comes has scant notes, only listing some of the 45 label information for each track; but there is another Brotherhood single on the CD, “Sooky Feeling (Part 1 & Part 2)” that appeared on the Mother label. Although I asked Cameron at Tuff City for more information, the only things she could add were that the release is dated 1975 and was recorded at Deep South Studio in Baton Rouge. I don’t know if Brotherhood was from Baton Rouge or New Orleans; but I do know they could throw down some funk.
And I know one more thing, they funked up a country song. “The Monkey That Became President” was written by Tom T. Hall, a big time country artist and songwriter back in the day, who recorded it in 1972. I just vaguely recall hearing it on the radio back then; but I am sure the music sounded nothing like this! As far as I can tell, the lyrics are fairly faithful to the original, as I looked them up online.
On Funky Funky New Orleans Volume 4, all the tracks are from obscure singles except for one unreleased track by Trick Bag, Luther Kent’s backing band for many years, who do a fine 13 minute instrumental “Ode To Billy Joe” that does not seem nearly that long. Most of these songs are fairly funk infested. Among those, I think the standouts are our Brotherhood feature, Lonnie Jones’ “Action Speaks Louder Than Words”, Warren Lee’s “Direct From The Ghetto”, and Jerry Byrne’s “I’m From The South". Two other great cuts, the Lonnie Jones flip side “You Got To Do Better” and “How To Make Love” by Brothers Two, are more soul than funk. All in all, this is a good collection, containing many records and artists I’d never heard or heard of. The cover, which is one of a series of photos throughout the packaging of Linda, a dancer and singer at Dorothy’s Medallion, almost totally in and certainly of the flesh, is most bizarrely appropriate. Only in New Orleans. . . .
Dwight Richards, occasional contributor to HOTG, told me that he would see what he could find out about Brotherhood; so I’m hoping for an update. And, by the way, I’d vote for that monkey.