(Excerpts from FunknStuff)
For some time I had been well aware of the long-running legal entanglement and feud that had fractured the great 1970s funk-R&B-jazz band ***, but I really gained a firsthand taste of its ugliness and silliness when I interviewed founding members Howard Scott (vocals, guitar), Lee Oskar (harmonica) and Harold Brown (drums) on the TRUTH IN RHYTHM show this past summer. The musicians and the interview were fantastic, but in the aftermath, I learned that even as a neutral third party it was legally inadvisable to associate them with the *** name.
I was implored to and complied with instead referring to them as being part of their present entity the Lowrider Band. Such is the bitter split that for the vast majority of the past 30+ years has kept the *** organization ongoing with just one original member (keyboardist-singer Lonnie Jordan) in tow while the other surviving players have been locked out due to court rulings in favor of the group’s founding producer and collaborator Jerry Goldstein.
That is a crying shame for a multitude of reasons. It has damaged the band’s legacy in terms of potential Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recognition, having a unified visibility and availability to media, and record catalog treatment. Then there’s also the lost potential earnings and anguish experienced by the band members and their families. Last but not least, it has also given short shrift to fans yearning to see the genuine article on stage and enjoy new music before Father Time makes that impossible.