Is Cincinnati aware the degree to which Manzel‘s two 45s “Space Funk” (from 1977) and “Midnight Theme” (1979) have become revered dance tracks around the globe? Note the trippy backwards drumming intro that immediately draws in the listener on “Space Funk”:
The number of times Dopebrother Records have reissued (and remixed) these tracks – originally produced by Manzel Bush and Shad O’Shea – is a testament to their durability, as well as desirability by DJs and vinyl enthusiasts worldwide. One recording of “Space Funk” posted on YouTube has enjoyed 180,000+ “views” to date.
Worth noting that Harry Carlson would sell 20-year-old Fraternity to Shad O’Shea in 1975, thus allowing Fraternity to stake a claim as “America’s oldest continuously operating independent record label.” O’Shea would then consolidate operations at Counterpart Creative Studios in Cheviot, where Manzel’s two singles were created.
What’s the deal with this 1988 release?
Discogs waxes biographical about Lexington, Kentucky’s Manzel:
The Manzel story began quite unsuspectingly. In 1976 O’Shea built Cincinnati, OH’s first state-of-the-art recording studio, Counterpart Creative Studios, and recorded some sessions by Manzel. The instrumental funk group from Lexington, KY consisted of Manzel Bush (keyboards), John L. Van Dyke (guitar), and Steve Garner (drums). Just before the sessions were totally finished, Lieutenant Bush got called off to military duty in Germany, and O’Shea hired some players from The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra to finish off the sessions. The first of the recordings to see the light of day were ‘Space Funk‘ b/w ‘Jump Street,’ which O’Shea released on Fraternity in 1977.
Discogs has the rest of the story:
Two years later, after some further tweaking by Bush, came the ‘Midnight Theme‘ b/w ‘Sugar Dreams‘ 45, and that was that. Manzel were no more. Bush stayed in the military, raised a family, and left music behind. Twenty-five years later, in 2004, the recordings of Manzel resurfaced with the aid of Kenny Dope and the Undercover Brother. The two wanted to reissue the original, very rare, and quite bootlegged Manzel recordings. However, the Dopebrother guys didn’t just reissue the original 45s. They dug up the tapes from the original Manzel sessions at Counterpart Creative, remixed and remastered them, and then released everything on a lavishly detailed CD, Midnight Theme. They also released a ‘Midnight Theme’ b/w ‘Space Funk’ single on 7″ vinyl with a picture sleeve reproducing the artwork from a flyer for a Manzel show in the ’70s.