Record Roulette: Funky Nassau Gets the Green Light

Sections: Love Hz

submit to reddit

Funky Nassau Green Vinyl reissueLately I’ve been exploring a lot of old soul and funk records that I missed back in the day.  At Amoeba Records last week I came across a reissue of a song I’d heard of — and I’m sure I’d actually heard it at one point or another — and took a chance on the LP reissue since it was priced very reasonably at just $11.  Funky Nassau is the album, by an unfortunately-named band called The Beginning of the End — talk about a prophetic title for a group that apparently only did this one record! But, what a great record they left behind!

From what I’ve found on the Interwebs thus far, it seems they came from the Bahamas (thus the Nassau title) and they were all about the grooves.  I can imagine this is the stuff of a remix DJ’s dreams, with drum breaks galore and grooves that simply kick ass and refuse to stop.  I’m reminded of a more fulfilling version of Bohannon — one of the kings of the pure groove. The difference is that while Bohannon could no doubt get you to go out on the dance floor, this stuff is built around more fully developed songs, not just endless repetitive groove.

The album has a great live sound to it; recorded in an obviously low-budget manner, it still sounds really cool and quite unlike any record I’ve heard from the period.  The music is a tasty brew, reminding me of 1969-era Grateful Dead, as run through a James Brown meets War blender with a dollop of whipped Santana on top.  “Pretty Girl” echoes War’s big hit with Eric Burdon from that period (“Spill the Wine”), trading in some hooks for the guitarist to have groovy solo opportunities. “When She Made Me A Promise” feels like an outtake from the first Chicago album.  These are all good things, mind you — at the end of it all, the album draws from myriad inspiration, but manages to concoct its own distinct, infectious sound.

The Beginning of the End: Funky Nassau

Back in the day, the album was released on appropriately obscure label — Alston Records — which was fortunately distributed by the Atco Records subsidiary of Atlantic Records.  Thus it got some distribution, enabling the title track to reach #15 on the charts!  It also got used in Blues Brothers 2000.

For $11, this Funky Nassau reissue is a great deal.  The album is fairly thick, lovingly pressed clear green vinyl — and manufactured by Rhino, according to the sticker on the back cover — complementing the pale lime green Alston Records label perfectly.  The cover is made from decently thick quality oaktag-type cardboard and looks to be a credible reprint of the original album graphics — fairly clear and good print quality.

$11?  How can you not buy this one?

Heck, for $15 its worth it!  Look for it at your favorite music store with the white and red sticker on it indicating colored vinyl inside (per the photo above).

 * * *

Mark Smotroff is a freelance writer and avid music collector who has worked for many years in marketing communications for the consumer electronics, pro audio and video games industries, serving clients including DTS, Sega, Sony, Sharp, AT&T and many others. Mark has written for numerous publications, including EQ Magazine, Mix Magazine, Goldmine/DISCoveries Magazine, Sound+Vision Magazine, and  He is also a musician / composer whose songs have been used in TV shows such as Smallville and Men In Trees as well as films and documentaries. Mark is currently rolling out a new musical he’s written.

Not surprisingly, here’s a clip of Santana playing the tune

And, seriously, is that Paul Shaffer in the white wig and dreadlocks in this Blues Brothers 2000 clip?


Print Friendly
  • Raphael Munnings

    Raphael Munnings late 70’s re-recorded Disco version of his original Funky Nassau very big in Europe but never got any airplay in USA. Raphael Munnings original Lead Singer with the Beginning of the End first million seller “Funky Nassau” to come out of the Bahamas.The group recorded two albums then disbanded but Raphael went on to record Bahamas Experience and two other albums.More info and photos can be seen on .Ray Munnings ‘It Could Happen To You’
    Bahamian singer and keyboard player, Ray Munnings, recorded two LPs with The Beginning Of The End (a group which included two other Munnings brothers) in the 1970s. They will always be best remembered for their 1971 hit, ‘Funky Nassau’, which brought them international recognition. Munnings would remake ‘Funky Nassau’ in 1979, at which time he also recorded some new material under the auspices of Dwight Brewster, Stan Lucas and Kenny Lehman. Of the sides he cut that year, the first to hit the streets was the classy, mid-tempo disco-soul of ‘It Could Happen To You’. The singles were on limited release on both sides of the Atlantic and have consequently been coA monster bit of funk that’s unlike anything else we can think of!
    This video will give a small glimpse of my country of 700 Islands “COME ALONG I WILL SHARE THEM WITH YOU”.FUNKY NASSAU debuted on the Billboard 100 chart #94, Peaked #15, and stayed on for 14 Weeks The Beginning of the End released an album entitled Funky Nassau in 1971 on Alston Records (a subsidiary of Atlantic Records), and the track “Funky Nassau – Part I” became a hit single in the U.S., peaking at #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and #7 on the Billboard Black Singles chart. The same track reached #31 in the UK Singles Chart in March 1974. All other artists or groups appearing in this video haved recorded a cover version of Funky Nassau

    The Beginning of the End was a group from The Bahamas that consisted of three brothers, Raphael, Leroy & Frank Munnings and a fourth member on bass Fred Henfield. Their only hit “Funky Nassau” on Billboard’s Hot 100 was a lyrical ode to their home city. From its Junkanoo beat to its island brass parts mixed with American funk, its description of “mini-skirts, maxi-skirts and Afro hairdos,”the song extolled the virtues of the group’s Bahamian base.
    A surprise hit, it reached the top 15 on both the pop and R&B charts. It was a success for Henry Stone during his days at Atlantic Records, and the money he earned helped him start up TK Records in Miami which introduced KC & The Sunshine Band shortly thereafter.