Despite their name, the Chicago Gangsters were originally from Ohio,

consisting of brothers James, Sam, Chris, and Leroy McCant. Their sound ranged from heavy funk and disco to sweet, smooth soul.

They adopted the name Chicago Gangsters after catching on with the Gold Plate label, where they worked with prolific songwriter/arranger Richard Evans and a number of Chicago's top studio musicians.

Their debut LP, Blind Over You, was released in 1975 and contained the slamming funk of "Gangster Boogie," as well as a minor hit cover of "I Choose You," which Willie Hutch had originally recorded as the love theme to the film The Mack.
This album was subsequently re-released under the name "I Choose you"

The title track of their 1976 sophomore album Gangster Love was another minor hit, and also the first 12" single their label ever issued. 1977's "I'm an Outlaw" was their last single for the Gold Plate label

Dropping the "Chicago" part of their name, the Gangsters subsequently signed with Heat and recorded a third album, Life Is Not Easy Without You, in 1979.

They continued on into the early '80s before disbanding. "Gangster Boogie" became a massively popular sample, most prominently appearing on L.L. Cool J's hit "Mama Said Knock You Out"





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Comment by Edie Antoinette on November 6, 2009 at 8:17am
That's what Sole said. I totally agree. I have happened up on countless things that way.
Comment by KnightD12 on November 6, 2009 at 12:22am
Well, i think you are the best 'Finder' of us all. But I`ve noticed that when I`m looking for something, if I don`t find it, I always run across other interesting stuff. So, it`s not a total waste of time.
Comment by Edie Antoinette on November 5, 2009 at 9:16pm
Fishy is right. And I forgot about you in the 'Finder' Dept. You are just as good, if not better. Really, both you and your sister astound me! I used to be good at it but I seem to be slipping lately. I haven't found anything good in awhile...

but I digress. Now I'm REALLY curious about these 'Ganstas'
Comment by KnightD12 on November 5, 2009 at 8:10pm
Right Edie, and I`m a pretty good 'Finder' myself. if they put a picture of somebody else on their album cover, that`s a pretty good sign that they don`t want to be seen. i even found a pic of the back of an cover. They were not there either. There is something 'fishy' going on here. haha
Comment by Edie Antoinette on November 4, 2009 at 3:26pm
Me too..when Sole said he was looking, although I should know by now how futile that is. If 'he' can't find it--it ain't there. LOL
Comment by KnightD12 on November 4, 2009 at 1:28pm
I searched for an hour. I can`t find a pic of these guys anywhere! Thats very say the least.
Comment by Edie Antoinette on November 4, 2009 at 11:41am
Yep...I can't believe they put so much into the album covers but would not show themselves. I hate when that happens.
Comment by KnightD12 on November 4, 2009 at 11:15am
i would have bought that 45" I Choose You" just for the record cover alone! I likes that. :)
Comment by Edie Antoinette on November 3, 2009 at 5:40pm
LOL! I don't even know why I try ... You are the King of Finding Stuff.
Comment by Shelley "SoleMann" King on November 3, 2009 at 3:42pm
I have had no luck, but i keep coming up with blog topics....LOL

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  1. play Norman Brown — Night Drive
  2. play Norman Brown — Feeling
  3. play Norman Brown — Still
  4. play Miles Davis — miles 1
  5. play miles 2
  6. play miles 3
  7. play miles 4
  8. play miles 5
  9. play Marvin Gaye — I Met A Little Girl
  10. play Santana — 01 Singing Winds, Crying Beasts
  11. play Santana — 02 Black Magic Woman-Gypsy Queen
  12. play Mongo — 02. Afro Blue

The history of the Butlers/Raw Soul is dense, but for all of us music nerds, that's normal. It is not totally clear what year the Butlers actually formed but they released their first single in 1963 on Liberty Records. That single was "She Tried To Kiss Me" and another single followed on Guyden entitled "Lovable Girl." After the Guyden single the Butlers took a break not recording another record until the single "Laugh, Laugh, Laugh" was released on the Phila label in 1966. The group also backed Charles Earland and Jean Wells on one Phila single ("I Know She Loves Me"). 

As you might be noticing, the Butlers were doing a fair amount of recording but not achieving much success. The group's recordings sold regionally but never had the promotion to make an impact on the national scene. After the single with Phila, the Butlers moved to the Fairmount label (part of the Cameo-Parkway family) and released a handful of singles, some being reissued singles of the past. The Butlers were with Fairmount for 1966-67 and then moved to Sassy Records. Sassy released the group's greatest single (in my opinion) "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" b/w "If That's What You Wanted." A copy of that 45 sold for just under $500 last summer on eBay. Even though that isn't that much in the world of record collecting--it's still a hefty sum. The Butlers released another single on Sassy ("She's Gone" b/w "Love Is Good") that appears to be even 
harder to come by then the "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" single.


The true history become a bit blurred here as the AMG biography states that the Butlers last record was released on C.R.S. in 1974 (". However, between 1971 and that single, Frankie Beverly formed a group called Raw Soul and released a number of singles. Some of the songs recorded by Beverly during this period are "While I'm Alone," "Open Up Your Heart," (both on the Gregor label) and "Color Blind." "Color Blind" was released by the Eldorado label and rerecorded by Maze. Beverly's big break came when Marvin Gaye asked Raw Soul to back him on a tour. Gaye helped Beverly/Raw Soul get a contract at Capitol. Beverly decided to take the group in a different direction, a name change occurred, and Maze was created. 

The above isn't the most complete history of Beverly but hopefully someone will know a way to get in touch with the man or his management because a comprehensive pre-Maze history needs to be done on Frankie Beverly (his real name is Howard, by the way). Below you'll find every Frankie Beverly (pre-Maze) song available to me right now ("Color Blind" will be up soon). 

If you have a song that is not included below, shoot it over to funkinsoulman (at) and it will go up in the next Frankie Beverly post (later this week--highlighting Maze). Also, if you have any more information please share your knowledge. The Butlers material has been comp-ed sporadically (usually imports) but the entire Maze catalog has been reissued and is available. 

Enjoy.  "She Kissed Me" (Fairmount, 1966 or 1967) 
 "I Want To Feel I'm Wanted" (not sure which label or year) "Laugh, Laugh, Laugh" (Phila, 1966) "Because Of My Heart" (Fairmount, 1966 or 1967)
 "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" (Sassy, 1967)
 "If That's What You Wanted" (Sassy, 1967)

Frankie Beverly is one of those cats that has lasting power. He started in the music business doing a tour with doo wop group the Silhouettes and then formed his own group called the Blenders. The Blenders never recorded a single, Beverly wouldn't appear on wax until forming the Butlers a few years later. Along with Beverly, the Butlers included Jack "Sonny" Nicholson, Joe Collins, John Fitch, and Talmadge Conway.

Beverly would later enjoy great success fronting Maze and Conway would become a
well-known penning Double Exposure's
"Ten Percent" and the Intruders' "Memories Are Here To Stay." 
 While Maze is a phenomenal group, Beverly's work before that group will always stand out as his best (imo).

The Butlers produced tunes that most Northern Soul fans would kill for and Raw Soul gave the funksters something to pursue. If, by chance, you know of a way to get in touch with Frankie Beverly or his management, please drop me an e-mail. It would be absolutely great to do an interview with him about his pre-Maze work. He's still playing out, most recently doing a New Year's Eve show in Atlanta.
:: Funkinsoulman ::

Power...Through Simplicity ♪♫♪



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