“Get Down People”: $500 Funk

I am delighted that a 45 released on Shad O’Shea’s Counterpart label – “Get Down People” by 400 Years of What – sold on Ebay for over $500.  However, if it weren’t for Buckeye Beat’s comprehensive listing of 45s released on Cincinnati’s Counterpart Records, I might have missed out altogether on this classic mid-70s disco-funk party jam:

“Get Down People”     400 Years of What     1975

Given the year of release (1975), I have to assume this song was recorded at Shad O’Shea‘s Counterpart Creative Studio in Cincinnati’s Cheviot neighborhood.   According to the informative blurb that accompanies the above YouTube video/audio clip:

“400 Years of What became *the* party band in the Cincinnati area after the House Guests [featuring “Bootsy” & “Catfish” Collins] dissolved around 1972.  Led by bassist Gordon Hickland, draftees from the House Guests included saxophonist Ralph ‘Randy’ Wallace and trumpeter Ronnie Greenway.  With the addition of [future Zapp] keyboardist Greg ‘Tuffy’ Jackson, guitar slingers Big Jimmy Callery and Clarence Miller, and drummer Little Jimmy Roberts, the core of the crew was established.  For the band’s mid-’70s airing on Shad O’Shea’s Counterpart label, the traps were manned by Frank ‘Kash’ Waddy, destined to be a key player in the triumph of the Parliament sprawl and especially Bootsy’s solo works.  An early incarnation of this outfit backed Gloria Taylor on the singer’s rare single for the House Guests label, with her ‘Brother Less than a Man’ being a primitive, rough version of the band’s later release as ‘Do What You Like.'”

Carfagna, Dante.  “The Cincinnati Connection:  The Local Roots of Bootsy Collins and Kash Waddy.”  Waxpoetics Aug./Sept. 2006: 93-94.  Print.

Because of high demand from DJs and mixmasters, this single would be reissued in 2006 on Dopebrother Records – check out this verbiage from the Hum Records catalog:

“Dopebrother is back with the first of two, super-rare sides of deepest dance floor funk from Cincinnati.  400 Years Of What dropped this often talked about but seldom seen single on Counterpart Records back in the heyday of Black Power, but in spite of the right-on vibe and intense musicianship, the record barely made it out of Ohio.  With original copies nearly impossible to uncover, it has only been through deep-pocketed collectors and DJ’s that anyone has gotten to hear the amazing A-side, a burning instrumental with extended drum breaks and an irresistable groove.  The B-side is just as strong, a Funkadelic-esque stoned headnodder with chanted vocals.  Dopebrother’s fully licensed and clean transfer from the Counterpart masters is an essential pick up for any funky DJs and afficionados of deep grooves.”

Original 1975 single                                         2006 reissue single

400 Years of What 45-1975400 Years of What 45-2006

More recently in 2013, Party Platter would launch their up-and-coming record label with this very same 45 – the first in a series of archival releases to showcase Cincinnati artists.

Photo courtesy of Party Platter

400 Years of WhatLeft to Right:  Louis McQueen, Gordie Hickland, Clarence ‘BigJon’ Miller, Jimmy Callery, Randy Wallace, Frank “Kash” Waddy., and [man in yellow hat].

Collector’s Frenzy allows you to see other auction results for this same 45 — interesting to note that a couple auction winners this year made out like bandits by paying less than $20.

A-Side Turned B-Side?

Louisville’s Soul Inc. is another music group from my hometown’s Ohio Valley region that recorded a local hit (“Love Me When I’m Down”) on a local label (Counterpart) that had been recorded locally (at Louisville’s Falls City perhaps?) and played on local AM hits radio station WSAI (thus, giving further credence to Nick Clooney’s recent statement that Cincinnati was a uniquely endowed media market that rivaled/bettered Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles):

“Love Me When I’m Down”     Soul Inc.     1968

“Love Me When I’m Down” is the A-side of a 1968 ‘rock ‘n’ soul’ Counterpart single that directly led to the band’s signing with the respected independent label, Laurie — only to have the A & B sides reversed on their debut Laurie 45!

A-Side                                                            B-Side

Soul Inc - Counterpart 45Soul Inc - Laurie 45

As Soul Inc. explains on its own website:

The band’s in-your-face quality was evident on Love Me When I’m Down,’ released as their next single along with ‘I Belong to Nobody.’  More than anything else the group recorded, Love Me When I’m Down’ captures Soul, Inc.’s live sound, with Young and Bugbee’s driving guitars (the solo is by Bugbee), Settle’s aggressive vocal, and Maxwell’s pounding drums.  We always said that we wanted the drums to sound like a bag of rocks,’ Maxwell recalls.”

Interesting to note that, as with The New Lime, (a) Soul Inc’s first 45 would also be issued on Cincinnati’s Fraternity label and (2) Shad O’Shea’s Counterpart Records would likewise help pave the path toward the band’s getting signed to a more nationally prominent label.

In a 2011 auction, an original Counterpart 45 sold for $45, while at this very moment, someone on Ebay is hoping to sell a copy for a whopping $100!

*Previous Zero to 180 piece about Laurie ‘rock ‘n’ soul’ 45 from 1966 — Ernie Maresca‘s “The Good Life.”

Cincinnati’s Big 3 Indie (Labels)

The mod organ and soulful vibraphone make a winning combination in 1967’s “Perfect Girl” by The New Lime from Campbell County, Kentucky:

“The Perfect Girl”     The New Lime     1967

[The organ+vibes immediately brings to mind seminal single “Space Walk” by The Astros!]

It is 2015, and I am only now aware – thanks to independent producer and music writer, Randy McNutt – that I have been unintentionally ignoring a third significant Cincinnati music production mill in addition to (1) King Records and (2) Fraternity:  (3) Counterpart!

Counterpart RecordsCounterpart Records is the brainchild of Shad O’Shea (Howard Lovdal, by birth).  According to McNutt, after CBS sold its Cincinnati’s radio affiliate, WCPO, O’Shea was no longer a radio show host, thus, O’Shea immediately shifted his career focus, first to creating a label – Counterpart – and second, to building a brick-and-mortar recording facility.  Says McNutt:

“[O’Shea’s] Counterpart Records label, when I was in high school was like a major to me.  His records were played on WSAI and other stations.  He broke many good rock-band records.  Then he’d sell them to larger indies or the majors.  He had a wall in hallway office at the studio with nothing but 45s that he produced or released over the years, including ones on Mercury, RCA, Columbia, Laurie, Monument, SSS International, and other labels.  There must have been 50 records on that big wall.  He recorded groups such as the New Lime, which went from Counterpart to Columbia under his guidance; the Mark V out of Dayton (‘Hey Conductor’), and other groups.

“Counterpart was regional, going into Kentucky and Indiana. But its big strength was in Cincinnati and Dayton.  Shad had a big hit if he sold 5,000 copies.  Sometimes he would get a hot regional record, and it would catch the eye of a major or a national independent.  They would lease the master from him.  This happened to him with the Mark V’s “Hey Conductor” in, I believe, 1967.  The group was from Dayton.  The record was then re-released on Mercury’s Phillips label.

“I started cutting records over at Counterpart and became a close friend of his.  He bought the Fraternity Records name from Harry Carlson in 1975.  I placed masters with both Harry and Shad over the years.  In fact, I might be the only indie producer to have the distinction (small as it is) of placing masters with all three owners of Fraternity.”

Shad O’Shea (and Webster)

Shad O'Shea The New Lime:   Singles Discography

Whenever I Look In Her Eyes/And She Cried --------- Fraternity F947   1965
It's Your Turn to Cry/Only You -------------------- Boss 9915         1966
Meant to Be/Walkin the Dog ------------------------ Counterpart 2495  196?
That Girl/She Kissed Me (With Her Eyes) ----------- Counterpart 2577  1967
That Girl/She Kissed Me (With Her Eyes) ----------- Columbia 4-44017  1967
There Goes My Girlfriend/Girl w Long Blonde Hair -- Counterpart 2593  1967
Meant to Be/Perfect Girl -------------------------- Counterpart 2599  196?
Ain't Got No Soul/I Still Remember ---------------- Counterpart 2609  1967
Donna/The Gumdrop Trilogy ------------------------- Counterpart 2626  196?
Donna/The Gumdrop Trilogy ------------------------- Columbia 4-44597  1968
Sunny/I Still Remember ---------------------------- Minart 150        196?

 Link to Buckeye Beat’s tribute page to The New Lime.