Must Hear LP Thursday: Beware Funk Ahead


Some pranksters in Austin, TX had zombies on the brain when they decided to have some fun.  On Must Hear Long Play Thursday, Brass Construction’s self-titled debut dance funk classic.  Beware a throbbing bea(s)t lurks.

Brass Construction formed in Brooklyn, NY in 1968 when Randy Mueller joined up with some classmates.  Mueller was born and raised, until 1963 when his family moved to New York, in British Guyana where he played in steel bands.  He formed the Dynamic Soul with fellow high school students, including several others born in the Caribbean.  The band consisted of Wayne Parris, Michael Grudge, Joseph-Arthur Wong, Wade Williamston, Sandy Billups, Morris Price, Larry Payton, Jesse Ward, and Michael “Micky” Grudge.  In 1973, the group became Brass Construction.  By this point they had harnessed a blend of African, Caribbean, and American influences to create a potent pulsating dance beat.  Becoming the house band for Dock, Muller spread his talents liberally.  Brass Construction finally got their own record deal in 1975 on UA, which released Brass Construction in 1976.


Opening strong with “Movin,'” which was a huge hit reaching number one R&B and number fourteen pop.  The throbbing beat is accentuated with punchy horns, strings, and high end synthesizer work.  Dubbed “Movin'” because the beat suggests moving, the groove does impel body parts to move.

“Peekin'” is a hilarious song about peeking at a girl.  While it may be sexist, or even creepy, in some respects, the chorus is also uproarious.

Brass Construction also charted with “Changin,'” which peaked at number twenty four R&B.  Their formula is pretty apparent by this point, but the grooves hold and the sound is rich.

“Love” is about you guessed it, love.  It is a real nice song with an appropriate warm sound.  The spiraling strings around the 2:30 mark lead to sustained plateau.  More cowbell!

“Talkin'” gets a bit sociopolitical.  The flute gets a chance to solo as well.

Commanding you to “Dance,” the band lays down another funky groove to close the record.  Complete with the fake crowd noise, the groove moves efficiently and infinitely.  It doesn’t end, only the recording does.  As an added bonus, the guitar gets dirty.

Brass Construction quickly fell to the disco bug.  Certainly, the sound disco mixed down is present on BC’s first album; however, the instruments play whole musical statements.  Thus, BC’s first release has the deep groove. Disco is the light groove, and the group’s future albums found them increasingly turning to this light side.  A good many number of funk/soul groups had dynamite initial releases, but struggled on subsequent ones.  It makes sense considering the fact that many of the groups go into the first album or few with material hammered out in front of audiences.  Thus, the songs had time to develop.  Once the back material is gone though many groups could come up with a hit or two, but could never generate enough good material for a whole album.  The rise of disco as a record-selling genre contributed to the demise due to the lure of dollars with even James Brown and P-Funk jumped aboard the disco train.  But, as I stated before, Brass Construction’s debut release is the unkut funk.  Enjoy.


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