In 1971, the Henry Stone label, ALSTON RECORDS, signed a group from the Bahamas called The Beginning of the End. The ominously named group was comprised of three brothers (Ray, Roy, and Frank Munnings), and a fourth musician (Fred Henfield) who played bass guitar. They recorded their first album titled Funky Nassau in Stone’s Hialeah studio, which was released in 1972 on both the ALSTON label and ATLANTIC label. The lone hit of that album was the title track. The song has a funky festive Calypso “doggone” beat and celebrates all things funky about the Bahamas including “mini skirts, maxi skirts, and afro hairdos”.
ALSTON’s producer Willie J. Clarke was assigned to handle this group because, as he says, they were “difficult.”
No one wanted to work with them. They were notorious…like a kick-your-ass type group. They’d get mad with you and start talking in that Bahamian tone and next thing you know they were in your face with all them muscles.
During the sessions, the band’s entourage included a muscled enforcer type. No one really knew who he was. When they finished recording the album, some of the band members came up to Clarke and made an unusual request: They wanted to take the original recordings with them. Clarke said no. They insisted. “We want the tapes, mon,” he recalls.
and then that muscle bound guy came and said ‘give us the tapes, mon. Give us the tapes, or I’ll kill you.’
Clarke more than obliged.
Here… take the tapes. See any more on the shelf you want? Help yourself. Just don’t kill me.
Fortunately for all of us, the band brought the tapes back and no one was knocked off.
Here’s the hit song titled Funky Nassau #1. It reached #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop Charts, and #7 on the R&B Charts in 1972. Note the ever present horn section that was synonymous with the Miami Sound.
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