Label: Athens Of The North
Deepfunk / soul super rarity flipped with one of the best deep soul sides ever recorded, the family had some great images so we opted for a picture sleeve on this one, 400 copies only. forget about finding an O.G. Researched by our man, Brian Sears
Papa Bear And His Cubs were the brainchild of Eddie Disnute Sr., aka Papa Bear. A native resident of Hampton, Arkansas. Eddie started his music career in gospel then transitioned into secular music after moving to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1963. While living in Milwaukee with his wife and children, Eddie played with a group called the Fenders but eventually decided to start a group of his own with his kids aptly named Papa Bear And His Cubs.
Eddie Sr., a naturally gifted musician, taught his children how to play music. Creativity is a part of the Disnute DNA and before long Eddie’s cubs were perfecting chops of their own. Papa Bear And His Cubs started performing together around the late 1960s. Although a few memorable gigs came their way, Wisconsin proved to be too cold for the Disnutes so they made their way back to Hampton, Arkansas.
The family continued to perform in Arkansas then made another move to Houston, Texas where they hoped to break into the music scene down south. They lived there for nearly three years and even recorded at SugarHill Studios, yet nothing materialized and the recordings remain a mystery to this day. For their final move, the Disnutes returned home to Hampton after Eddie’s wife Christine (aka Mother Goose) received word that her father was ill.
In 1975 the group recorded their only vinyl record at Sam Griffith’s home recording studio in Camden, Arkansas. Disnute Sr. recalls it only taking “one night, and one take” for both “Sweetest Thing On This Side Of Heaven” and “You’re So Fine” to be born. Both songs have an entrancing quality that is inescapable and will surely resonate with listeners for years to come.
The group continued to perform until the early 1980s, at which point the cubs were bears themselves, who decided to go their own separate ways. When thinking back to their prime days, one thing will always remain clear in Eddie Sr.’s memory, “we could play, all it took was a countdown of 1, 2 ,3, 4 and we’re gone”.