God bless Brooklyn’s Daptone Records. When fellow funk label Desco went under a couple years ago, Daptone stepped in to see
this project to completion. Recorded in 2000 by a crew of funkateers barely out of high school but who’d clearly studied their parents’ Meters and Booker T & the MG’s records, Thunder Chicken is the sound of Memphis, Muscle Shoals and New Orleans revisited, fatback-gritty and rawer than homemade soap, yet as sleekly soulful as a night at the Apollo. Right from the get-go the Imperials go knee-deep: “Thunder Chicken” (which opens and closes with the sound of a rooster — or somebody — squawking bloody murder) features gutbucket rolling bass, sinewy organ lines, a “Soul Man”-styled guitar riff and drumming so far in the pocket you can taste the lint. Gospel-soul shouter Joseph “Who’s The King” Henry weighs in on four of the album’s 11 tracks, ably resurrecting Eddie Floyd’s “Never Found A Girl” and playing James Brown to the Imperials’ J.B.s on original tune “Joseph’s Popcorn.” It sounds like 1968 all over again.
Pre-release buzz was so heavy that this got bootlegged in Britain before Daptone could get its version on the streets, so make sure you seek out Daptone’s DAP-003, featuring a stylized cover drawing of a rooster surrounded by lightning bolts.
Fred Mills writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at email@example.com.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.