Sweet soul album by Vietnam-era U.S. soldiers reissued for the first time on CD and LP
In 1971, America was in the throes of cultural revolution at home and military conflict abroad. While stationed in Germany, soldiers hailing from all corners of America battled it out in an Army stage-band competition. Runner-up East of Underground best captured the spirit of a turbulent America with their sweet-soul covers of the Impressions, Sly and the Family Stone, Funkadelic, and the Undisputed Truth.
The sound encapsulated on their ultra-rare Army promotional LP was not that of powerless soldiers trapped in a quagmire, but, instead, one of hope. This sense of hope is best reflected in song choice and the songwriting genius of America’s greatest soul composers, from Curtis Mayfield to Motown’s Norman Whitfield.
Unlike other obscure-funk reissues and compilations, East of Underground is immediately familiar, instantly gratifying, and endlessly playable. And especially poignant today. With covers of “People Get Ready,” “I Want to Take You Higher,” and “Smiling Faces Sometimes,” the album’s charm and sincerity will evoke profound nostalgia and insight into a time when music reflected life.
East of Underground’s musicianship shines throughout this record. The falsetto harmonies, gritty guitar, and all-encompassing drums are a testament to the group’s talent and the caliber of this superior album. With only a handful of copies known to exist, East of Underground is now reissued for the first time ever by Wax Poetics Records as their debut release, in collaboration with Lettuce Music.