The Guardian UK on our East of Underground anthology: “Funk songs from Vietnam GIs.”

Now-Again | Dec. 16, 2011 | News |

England’s Guardian just ran a story detailing the story behind our East of Underground anthology. An excerpt from Ben Beaumont-Thomas’ piece:

“In 1971 the US was pulling troops out of Vietnam, and its bases in Germany were full of draftees at a loose end. “You were painting shovels, picking up cigarette butts – it was a lot of busy-work,” remembers former serviceman Lewis Hitt. “There was a longing by everyone, especially the draftees, to get home and go back to what you were doing before.” This was the crucible in which were formed scores of raucous funk bands made up of servicemen, four of which have just been compiled by Now-Again Records. Adoring crowd noise was crudely dubbed on top of their records, which were then distributed in recruitment centres. These bands were used by the army to present service as varied, even hip. But the songs they cover – the bitter, suspicious likes of Backstabbers and Smiling Faces Sometimes – undermine any potential propagandising.”

Read the full article: “Funk Songs From Vietname GIs” by Ben Beaumont-Thomas (Guardian UK, Friday, 12.16.11).
Buy: East of Underground: Hell Below.
Download: East Of Underground “Hell Below.”

East Of Underground – “Hell Below” Box Set.

Now-Again | Sep. 26, 2011 | News | ,

A few months back we announced that that we’d be releasing an anthology that centered around a mythical album by the US Army band East of Underground. Well, we’re now proud to announce Hell Below: faithful reissues of the three albums released by the winners of the US Army’s First and Second Annual Original Magnificent Special Services Entertainment Showband Contests. Packaged as LP and CD box sets, Hell Below presents nearly two hours of heavy funk and soul music played by United States Army soldiers enlisted during the politically turbulent early 1970s.

East of Underground, SOAP The Black Seeds and The Sound Trek were bands comprised of soldiers stationed in bases across Western Germany during the height of the Vietnam War. While little is known about the bands, the players, and the milieu they came from – other than what can be pieced together from a handful of photos and documents found in a box in the New York Public Library, and the vague recollections of some of those involved – we at Now-Again Records have worked diligently with the United States Army and researchers the country over to present this important document, and some damn good music to boot.

Each of the two double-billed albums contained in this box set is presented as an exact reproduction of the original United States Army issue. The extensive, full-color booklet features essays, annotation and a collection of Army ephemera from the creation of these albums. Also included is a full-color, exact reproduction of East Of Underground’s 1971 tour poster.

Buy: East of Underground: Hell Below.
Download: East Of Underground “Hell Below.”

(more…)

East Of Underground – Hell Below

Now-Again | Sep. 1, 2011 | Catalog |

Buy it here.

This compilation produced by Eothen “Egon” Alapatt and David Hollander.
Original East of Underground and SOAP sessions produced by Ted Spencer.
Original The Black Seeds and The Sound Trek sessions produced by Larry Rowe.

Art direction by Errol Richardson.
Restoration and remastering by Dave Cooley.

Liner notes by David Hollander and Sam Lipsyte.
Project coordination by Henoch Moore.

East of Underground:

Higher
Smiling Faces
Hell Below
People Get Ready
Getting Over
Bet’ya Never Lose My Love/California Dreamer
Popcorn/Santana
I Love You
Java Girl
Walk On By

SOAP:

I Just Want To Celebrate
You’ve Got A Friend
Southern Man
Medley: Will The Circle Be Unbroken/I Don’t Know How To Love Him
Ticket To Ride
I Feel The Earth Move
Uncle Albert
Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves
Never My Love
Walk Away
Get Together

The Black Seeds/The Sound Trek:

Go Outside in the Rain
Ain’t No Sunshine
Black Magic Woman
Do Your Thing
Backstabbers
Intro – Kool and the Gang
Walking in the Rain
Backstabbers
Coldest Day of my Life
If Loving You is Wrong
I Love Everything About You

3CD Box Set, 3LP Box Set. 2011. NA5083.

Download high res East of Underground cover art here.
Download high res The Black Seeds/The Sound Trek cover art here.
Download high res SOAP cover art here.


Announcing: East of Underground “Hell Below” 3LP/3CD Box Set

Now-Again | Jun. 13, 2011 | News |

One of our favorite soul/funk albums is East of Underground’s near-mythical, self-titled LP. Originally produced and released by the US Army in 1972 to use as a recruitment tool, this album flew into our top ten list when Chicago-based collector Dante Carfagna first sourced a copy in the late 90s. It never left.

We were overjoyed to be able to include the paranoiac soul of their “Smiling Faces” on our Forge Your Own Chains anthology. Now, we’re readying to present a 3 LP/3 CD box set of the East of Underground’s album – as it was originally issued, as a double LP with the little-heard SOAP album – and The Black Seeds/The Sound Trek album that the US Army released the following year. A September release date has been set; more information coming soon.