Trouble Funk: Hard To Beat


Style Records 1989.  STYRL 001


I mourn the decline of regional diversity in music.  It started as soon as recorded music became available and it became possible for lots of people to listen to the same thing.  Radio was another nail in the coffin, and now marketing muscle and cultural imperialism are pushing it ever further.  Diversity still exists though, and this album is a good example of it.

Trouble Funk were part of the Washington Go-Go scene which is a kind of heavy, big-band funk unique to the city.  It didn’t really make it across the pond; I heard them for the first time thanks to a really good track on one of those horrible free 7″ EPs music papers used to give away – obviously part of a failed attempt to market the band internationally.

Don’t be fooled by the cheap artwork on this album.  It may have been low budget, but the music isn’t.  If you have any interest in funk at all, you owe it to yourself to hear this stuff.  I’m told their earlier stuff, before a major label got hold of them is better, but there’s not much wrong with this.  There’s even a pastiche of Kraftwerk’s Trans Europe Express which works far better than it has any right to.

I suspect this album is a compilation, but there’s not much info out there about it.  Four of the tracks are credited to “Big Tony and the TF Crew”, which as far as I can tell is just Trouble Funk.

There seems to be nothing currently available by the band.  I’ve noticed on Discogs that their early vinyl isn’t worth much, so I may explore in more depth.  I’ll post anything I get hold of here at some point.

Update:  I enjoyed listening to this so much I decided to try to find more Trouble Funk.  I succeeded, so there will be more rips here at some point.  While doing a spot of research, I cam across which has reviews of most of their output, and they have this to say about Hard To Beat :

“Released only in the UK, a compilation of hard-to-find material. Side One is credited to Big Tony & The T.F. Crew (“Go-Go Lady,” written and produced by Harvey Scales; an edit of “Back Doin’ What We Do Best”) though “Do The Whop” (also trimmed) was originally released as Go-Go Allstarz. Side Two is credited to Trouble Funk, though much of it is from the same Allstarz disc (“Graveyard Boogie / All Aboard”). Also in 1989, Fisher and Reed produced a single for T & A (Tara R. and Asia T.), “Definitely Dope” – it’s an enjoyable blend of go-go and hip hop, but good luck finding a copy (I heard it on MixCloud). (DBW)”

  1. This is awesome. I had the old comp that was on the Infinite Zero label (which is something I’d always been after in lossless) but this looks great. The cover of “Trance Europe Express” is just fantastic. I wonder if the reason this so cheap on Discogs is b/c there’s so much audio shoehorned onto one piece of vinyl, which is a bit of a shame…still, I trust it sounds ok? Haven’t listened yet. Thanks again for everything you do here!

  2. I meant “Trans”, of course…

  3. You’re right, it is too long, but it sounds better than you’d expect. I guess back then it was the marketing tactic budget labels used.

    I’m not sure that’s why it’s cheap though – their whole catalogue seems to be close to worthless, and anyway, I remember seeing this quite a lot in bargain bins so there must have been too many pressed.

    I’ve also got a Go-Go compilation on the same label which I’ll post soon. It includes “Let’s Get Small” which I think is a classic.

  4. […] while ago I posted my only Trouble Funk LP, and I so enjoyed listening to it again, that I’ve bought some […]

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