Chains & Black Exhaust album cover
Chains & Black Exhaust

Various Artists


This 2002 mix disc (calling it a compilation would imply that someone paid for the rights to the music) assembled by record collector Dante Carfagna gathered 15 ultra-obscure tracks by US Black funk and rock bands from the late ’60s and early ’70s. In some cases, these groups only ever released a single, one side of which is included here; others managed to put out an album or two before vanishing into obscurity. The music is all clattering backbeat, fuzzed-out guitar and ragged-but-right vocal harmonies, making the Chambers Brothers and Westbound-era Funkadelic sound like the Fifth Dimension by comparison. Black Merda’s “Cynthy Ruth,” Iron Knowledge’s “Show Stopper,” and Blackrock’s “Yeah, Yeah” in particular are head-spinning heavy psych. The front cover is a photo of the headquarters of the Thunderbirds motorcycle gang, and it’s easy to imagine these songs cranking on the stereo inside.

Phil Freeman

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