We’ve been looking for photos of drummer Carleen Jean Butler since Egon offered the first official reissue of Carleen and The Groover’s monstrous funk anthem “Can We Rap” on The Funky 16 Corners anthology a decade ago. In the interim, we released a vinyl anthology that contained the band’s four known recordings, compiled “The Thing” on Cold Heat, and even tracked down Carleen’s first drum teacher in search of some documentation that this woman actually existed!
And now, nearly forty years after he first received these promo shots in the mail, an East Coast club owner made these two photos available for sale. They now reside in the collection of producer and funk enthusiast DJ Shadow. And they prove that Carleen did indeed play a double kick-drum – better than the rest of ’em. Take that Lars Ulrich!
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Carleen and The Groovers are that rare phenomenon in the rare world of Deep Funk – a group of local hopefuls who not only possessed the desire to record themselves, but recorded multiple, original songs at the peak of America’s funk movement. Their four sides are superb examples of why the history of independently released funk music is so important within America’s musical tapestry. Carleen and The Groovers shouted positive, uplifting messages, gave the drummer a whole bunch, signified coded comedy and defined the syncopated funk groove. Their recorded output paints a picture of a band bursting at the seams, ready to explode out of the tight confines of Carleen Butler’s heavy drumming. This is funk at its combustible best.
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