Numero Group: By The Numbers

Needle Drop: Stone Coal White
July 12, 2011, 8:30 am
Filed under: Stone Coal White | Tags: , ,

Jesse Chandler was surrounded by chrome and leather, chains and exhaust on the night of June 13, 2010 when he was shot to death in front of 200 witnesses. Many of the witnesses were members of a notorious biker gang known as the Bad to the Bone Motorcycle Club. Unfortunately for Jesse Chandler, his blood was pooling in the parking lot of their meeting place and underground bar, a dilapidated house at 2400 W. 3rd St. in Dayton, Ohio, where street racing and noise complaints were common. Detectives have received numerous anonymous calls identifying the killer but none of the witnesses are willing to come forward and identify themselves. No arrests were made.

Three months later, the Dayton SWAT team raided the house on complaints of drug and illegal liquor sales. They found the house in a state of disrepair, split into four apartment units with no functioning bathroom, kitchen, or fire alarm between them. The house is now condemned and Bad to the Bone members were ordered to stay away from the property until repairs and further inspections could bring it up to code.

It was also in this house, amidst biker gang ephemera, that the master tapes of long-lost Dayton psychedelic soul band Stone Coal White were discovered by Dante Carfagna in 2004. While Bad to the Bone has existed in Dayton and used the address as their personal clubhouse for decades, it was also the regular hangout of Stone Coal White in 1970s. The connection is this: The house was once owned by Melvin Payne, a Bad to the Bone member who also happened to play bass in Stone Coal White.

The band was one of the true underground acts of the well-stocked Dayton soul scene. While the Ohio Players were off in Akron and Detroit making their name and records, Stone Coal White was in Dayton playing for the people at clubs like the Astro House on Salem Avenue and the Twenty Grand on Germantown Pike. While It’s unclear if any of the other members of the band were also in the gang besides Payne, Stone Coal White’s full lineup included Joe Rodrick (a.k.a. Joey Lobo) on drums, and Tommy Mundy on guitar, with a rotating cast of vocalists including Dennis Mundy, King Solomon Prather, Robert “Dapp” Brown, and a mysterious person known as Cookieman, whose real name may have been David Jones. Together, they were operating in the genre-bounding territory that briefly opened in the wake of Jimi Hendrix and Funkadelic, cross-fertilizing white rock with black funk and soul. You can hear the rev of the engine in their music, the creak of leather and the clank of chains.

Known for exhaustive, psychedelic shows with a very risque element, the band was forcing them to add “Rated X” to their name at various points. Payne told me a story of Joey Lobo doing a drum solo with dildos as drumsticks. Eventually, they merged with a local vocal group called Act 5 to complete their show band package and become “Act 5 & Stone Coal White.” Formerly an a cappella group, Act 5 was led by brothers Holland and Larry Makeupson. Unfortunately, both bands together were ahead of their time, and their time was not kind.

After the demise of Stone Coal White, Tommy Mundy retired from music, only playing guitar intermittently at church. Joey Lobo played with Sun, jazz organist Charlie Earland, the rock group ROME (formerly known as the Cigarettes), Ahmad Jamal, and comedian Dave Chappelle. In addition, he started his own group in Phoenix, Arizona which were voted “Best Of Phoenix 1984” by New Times Magazine. Rumors place his last known whereabouts in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Act 5 still performs a cappella in church.

Melvin Payne continued to play both bass and drums for many small-time local acts, most notably the Strictly Business Showband in the mid-to-late 80s (though it is unknown if he is on their 45 from 1988). Over the years, the house decayed and the tapes grew dusty, forgotten to all but the most dedicated funk collectors. When Josh Davis and Dante Carfagna arrived on the scene in 2005 they were hoping to get a couple copies of the record, but sensing the decaying infrastructure they took it one step further and licensed the band’s entire oeuvre, nabbing a safety copy of the group’s eight known songs at the same time.

Today, via Josh’s quiet Cali-Tex imprint, we’re proud to present Stone Coal White to the world on LP, CD, and MP3. Find it in finer record emporiums or buy it on our website. Not convinced? Listen to this five minute sampling of the entire album:

5 Comments so far
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message from a blackmin?

Comment by cleveland

Wow.. received it yesterday.. Never thought I would one day enjoy biker funk that much..

Comment by Lg

Have the CDs gone out to subscribers already?

Comment by J Parker

[…] à Dante Carfagna et à DJ Shadow, à l’origine de la […]

Pingback by Stone Coal White – Stone Coal White (Cali-Tex, 2011) « Messagetoourfolks’s Blog

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