Secret Selector: The Sidewinders’ Flatfoot Hustlin’
The Sidewinders were a seven piece deep funk n’ soul outfit from Halifax, NS in the 1970’s. Though collectors consider their ’77 self-produced LP Flatfoot Hustlin’ the holy grail of Canadian funk, with the original pressing selling upwards from $1-2,000 CAD, the seven headed hard funk unit seems to get lost in the Canadian music archives with little to no information immediately available on the bands existence aside from the eight song album.
Long before the Flatfoot Hustlin’ slab was bootlegged on CD in Japan, and officially reissued on LP by the UK Label Jazzman Records in 2011, The Sidewinders shook some serious ass as one of the only original bump and groove funk bands to shuffle their platform shoes on Atlantic Canadian soil.
According to the information lifted from the liner notes, The Sidewinders comprised on record of “Raymond Myers: saxophone, Jerry Holland: keyboards, Jerry Jenkins: guitar, Hank Anderson: bass, Alexander Link and Jerry Ayers: trumpet, Reggie Barnes: drums”. All the tracks on the album were originals credited as compositions to the seven members, with the exception of the album closer “Voyage”, written by Al Feeney.
From scraping together the crumbs of information available about The Sidewinders, you get the impression that they were more of a backup or house band. The impressive ensemble likely spent much of their time and talent somewhat operating in the shadows of other performers on stage, and Flatfoot Hustlin’ was an artistic statement and declaration as original songwriters.
“Comprising seven capable and qualified musicians, these young men have backed the biggest of stars and played places reserved for the top names in show business,” reads the albums liner notes. “Realizing a need for greater recognition and exposure, these determined young men set out to record and produce an album. Hard times, trials and tribulations have stretched the making of this album into a three-year period. But putting both feet firmly on the ground and hustling hard, the album is finally ready for the world to hear. Thus the name “Flatfoot Hustlin'”.
Listen to the title track here, and/or play the full album at the bottom of the page:
All eight tracks of Hustlin’ were recorded at Audio Atlantic in Halifax, NS, and originally released by The Great Eastern Production Co., a label credited on discogs.com as releasing up to five selections between the dates of ’77-’80. Little information about the label is retrievable beyond those submitted notes.
According to their webstore, UK based reissue imprint Jazzman Records still stocks copies of their Flatfoot Hustlin’ rerun which were limited to 1,500 LP’s. The original version proves incredibly rare, and as previously noted sells at an extremely high value ($1-2,000 CAD). So, if you happen to have it kicking around in your collection, or stumble upon it while thumbing through crates at a record store, flea market, or garage sale; you’ve got yourself a gem, so handle that shit with kid gloves, and don’t play it with a dirty needle.
Here at Secret East, we’re trying our damnedest to get in contact with the folks responsible for this groovecentric piece of Atlantic Canadian musical history. Besides our reaching out to Jazzman Records, we’re asking that if any of our readers have any details or contact information for anyone involved with The Sidewinders, please point us in the right direction. There must be a goldmine of great stories from the minds who gave us this hunk of wax.
Listen to the full album here: