Detroit Sex Machines

Now-Again | Oct. 18, 2008 | News | ,

What can be said about the Detroit Sex Machines two seven-inch singles? It’s rare that an independent funk group could record and release one high-caliber seven-inch. But two? Well, Carleen and The Groovers managed the feat. As did Mickey and The Soul Generation. How about cross-pollination of musical genres though? Again, Carleen and Mickey lead ensembles that could vamp with the best of them, and still lean leftwards to embrace the psychedelic. How about accomplishing these feats while attending high school? Now the Detroit Sex Machines stand alone.

When uber-collector Phillipe Lehman rediscovered and reissued the Sex Machines first seven inch in 2001, the funk community wondered the obvious: could these two tough-as-Bootsy-Collins?-18-year-old-fingernails tracks be new recordings by Phillipe and his Desco/Soul Fire cohorts. The idea was plausible enough. But Phillipe himself, when confronted with the theory, laughed, “If I could record funk this good, it’s all I’d do.”

The group’s second 45, rediscovered some time later, demonstrated that though the band could funk with JBs-like precision, they could stretch, no pun intended, into territory not oft-explored by a band so obviously taken in by James Brown’s rhythmic revolution. And the Godfather’s most psychedelic venture, the Sho Is Funky Down Here album, sounds tame compared to the Sex Machines five minutes of fury. This band was intense. The fact that their music remained undiscovered by the Deep Funk community for so long is a crying shame.