Louisville’s Unhooked Generation
They were an eight piece group formed out of Jerry Green’s group The Sonic Sounds. Along with Jerry the band included several other members that would progress to make a mark in the business. Louisville has never been thought of as having a large black music output, mainly because it never had a record label of note like many other citys. But from early on many from this city would go on to have great careers. Mary Ann Fisher would join Ray Charles to become his bands singer and his muse. Harvey Fuqua and his Moonglows would leave from here for national fame and later he would return to get musicians for his New Birth/Nite-Liters set up. In the early day the group rehearsed hard and played any and all the gigs they could around their home town. The band’s members waxed and waned over the years but included, Ron Lewis, Linda Blakely, Ervin Garr, Angelo Lovely, David Pepper, Donna Mason, Crystal Hals, Barry Johnson, Fred Thomas, Marion Hester, Larry Smith, John Clay & Izzy Sutton. They built up a cool reputation as a great show band, playing a great funk sound in the Earth Wind & Fire vein. In time they cut a number of tracks but none made it to vinyl until they saw posthumous release as a CD LP ‘Thanks for the memories’ in 2001.
The group reputation grew to a point where they were invited to an audition with Mercury records in Chicago. All went well and by the second day the group were all excited that their big break had arrived. But then the whole thing took a dark turn, which was recited to me by several members of the group. There had been a fair amount of drugs evident on the first day, on the second someone, whose name has never been stated told them that they would be expected to do an introduction tour for the label and that they would be expected to deliver to local radio DJ’s packages that would contain money or drugs as a form of ‘payola’. The group met to discuss this and collectively decided to return to Louisville instead.
Jerry Green The Aristocrats
On their return different members of the band started to develop other avenues, Linda Blakely joined the legendary sister funk act The Aristocrats Organisation and then joining The Fatback Band. Many years later she would return to Louisville, by which time she was strung out on heroin. Old band members remember seeing her on street corners in a bad way, she eventually died from aids. Ron Lewis would form his Mr Wonderful record label releasing many of his old friend’s projects on the label. Jerry Green would develop of successful solo career releasing several 45’s on Ron’s label and open a night club in the city which he still has to this day. The group appeared a few more times on recordings out of the city, most notably on the now sort after 45 by Faces Of Truth , which has the Low-rider classic ballad ‘I need ya’ and was backed by a track that had echoes of the bands hard edged funk past ‘ Black is’.
Bringing us right up to date Ron Lewis has now decided to release two of the Lo-Fi deep funk sides from their catalogue that he has been asked for many years for. So 2016 see the revival of his Mr Wonderful label and a new 45 release The Unhooked Generation – Love in motion / Fruits of evil – Wonderful MR W#2001-116