See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Gilles Peterson Digs America: Brownswood U.S.A.

Posted By on Wed, Dec 28, 2005 at 12:00 AM

A few of us have at least one DJ friend with a colossal record collection that practically defines who they are and what they do. And raiding said DJ’s record collection would be a dream come true. And that’s basically what the folks at Luv N’ Haight records did to well-respected British BBC radio DJ Gilles Peterson’s sides. Peterson, who several years ago purchased a separate home just to store his records, is one of the world’s greatest authorities on rare soul and funk. Hence, Brownswood is a soothing potpourri of hard-to-find jazz, funk and soul recordings from obscure American crooners and ensembles who put out stunning music 30 years ago.

Wild-child Darondo kicks it off with his high-pitched Bay Area classic “Didn’t I,” one of only three songs that the singer released. Detroit jazz legend Harold McKinney is here with his 1974 side “Ode to Africa,” which is two parts spiritual jazz and one part funk. The song features fellow Detroiters Marcus Belgrave and Wendell Harrison; it’s a must-have for any McKinney fan.

Funk lovers will eat up the horn-filled “March of the Goober Woobers” by Texans 47 x Its Own Weight. It’s a strange name for a band, sure, but the break-beat-heavy song is as cool as the other side of the pillow. In short, every song on this 75-minute set soars.

Jonathan Cunningham writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to


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

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

More by Jonathan Cunningham

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 21, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit