The Black Panthers House Funk Band

Studio 360

During the heyday of soul and classic R&B, the Black Panther Party's Minister of Culture had an idea: a revolutionary black power singing group, complete with dance routines and costumes.The band was called the Lumpen, from Karl Marx'slumpenproletariat. That may be the least funky band name ever, but theyknew how to put on a show. With only one small-issue single to their name, the Lumpen faded from memory, becoming a rumor to collectors. But decades later, a grad student chased that rumor to theHuey Newton papers at Stanford University, where he found a homemade recording of a 1970 performance at Merritt College in Oakland. His book "Party Music"is a history of the band.

Special thanks to Chris Bishop fromGarageHangover.comfor the digitized version of The Lumpen's "No More," which was the B-side for their song "Free Bobby Now."

(Originally aired January 31, 2014)

Bonus Track: The Lumpen, "Free Bobby Now"


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