Sometime in the 1970s, a funk/soul group laid down some tracks at a New Jersey studio and left their recordings behind. Little else is known about them beyond a recovered acetate with their name and song titles written in ink across a faded label. From the cobwebbed corners of a defunct studio come two forgotten gems that we've polished up and proudly present to you now — The New York Underground Funk Band's "Strugglin’" and "I’ve Been Fooled."
"Strugglin'" has a vibe so infectious that it's easy to miss the story: "there's a feeling in the air, my life is finally going somewhere." As the title suggests, this is a band putting in the work. A sense of hope is offset by a true sense of struggle — the extent of which we may never know. Guitar-laden funk moves through a suite of several movements, taking you on the journey of a band's desire to break through to success. There's an irresistible rawness that feels as fresh as ever, and by the end, leaves you wanting more.
"I've Been Fooled" reaches for sweet soul greatness. It's music that's meant to be heard in the dark, alone, as the group exhibits their ability to make heartache sound sweet. The song happens in a moment of awful recognition: "I've been fooled each and every day... in each and every way." The aching vocal comes wrapped in an endearingly loose performance of persistent organ, guitar and drums, providing comfort for the heartbroken.
Between these two sides, we hear the range of a band that was never heard by a wide audience, but should have been. The Preservation Project is excited to share these once-lost tracks in limited vinyl and digital formats. TPP’s maiden release (PP-001) showcases a group that is bigger than their place in music history, and worthy of preservation.