This week our resident vinyl guru ‘Mr A’ has dusted off his cheesecloth mankini and is heading straight down to the beach to indulge in some seriously rare ‘Islands Funk’ courtesy of Thomas St. John & Winston……
Firstly a bit of background – In recent years the chances of finding rare, undocumented vinyl from Europe and the US has grown ever smaller, however, the growth of that world wide web thingy and the rise of the intrepid record collector has seen locations previously uncharted by the vinyl obsessive unearth some real finds; Turkey’s Anatolian scene of the ’70s, those super cool ‘Cambodia Rocks’ comps that showcased a whole world of psych, garage and funk previously unheard to Western ears, Polish jazz, Ghanaian Funk and so on.
What’s Islands Funk I hear you ask? Throughout the ’70s on any one of the hundreds of islands that make up the Caribbean; Trindad & Tobago, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras, Costa Rica, local bands and musicians would ply their trade, often aping what was stylistically popular in the US and Europe; sometimes they made records.
Which brings us neatly onto the 7″ single in question; featuring a nasty slab of James Brown inspired funk on the A-Side complete with an equally floor-shaking B-Side, ‘Does It Have To Be This Way’. Very little is known by Thomas or Winston for that matter, the producers are listed as ‘T. St. John, S. Ladeji & S. Bucknor’ so there could possibly be some Jamaican involvement if the ‘S. Bucknor’ is Sid [Norman] Bucknor, which would fit, or could it possibly be that legendary Nigerian funk man Segun Bucknor had some involvement?
This copy is not only one of the hardest Funk singles to find in itself but has also been autographed twice by Thomas St. John on the plain sleeve. Vinyl wise, the disc stays easily in the Excellent bracket, with just a couple of light paper scuffs & little sign of play – A real gem of a find!