Detroit’s iconic Westbound Records is making a triumphant return in collaboration with the vinyl specialist label Org Music, by re-launching a remastered series of beloved funk and soul albums. Following the Oct. 6 release of Ohio Players’ landmark 1973 album, Pleasure, the label is set to introduce two rare gems, The Counts’ What’s Up Front That-Counts on October 27, and Eramus Hall’s Your Love Is My Desire on January 12, 2023.
Westbound Records, founded in 1968 by Armen Boladian, rose to prominence as a pivotal independent label that continued to deliver sensational music from Detroit following Motown’s departure. Over the years, Westbound built an impressive roster that included iconic acts like Funkadelic, Ohio Players, Junie Morrison, The Detroit Emeralds, Denise LaSalle, The Counts, and Dennis Coffey.
The re-launch of Westbound Records comes after a decade-long process dedicated to rescuing, preserving, and restoring the label’s original master tapes. This extensive restoration was carried out at the renowned 54 Sound Studio in Detroit. Award-winning engineer Dave Gardner handled the remastering work, with tape transfers and restoration efforts led by archival specialist Catherine Vericolli, and further engineering assistance from 54 Sound’s in-house engineer, Nick King.
The reissue series aims to do justice to the original performers, musicians, and songwriters, ensuring they are properly compensated for their groundbreaking contributions to the music world. Upcoming releases in the series include works from Dennis Coffey, Assemblage, Funkadelic, and several more yet to be announced.
In 1971, The Counts, previously known as The Fabulous Counts, released their first full-length album for Westbound Records, titled What’s Up Front That-Counts. The record is undeniably funky, characterized by its conga-led grooves, impassioned vocals, and in-the-pocket arrangements. Notably, the album has been sampled by artists like Queen Latifah (“Mama Gave Birth to the Soul Children”) and Eric B. & Rakim (“Relax With Pep”).
Hall’s 1980 debut album, Your Love Is My Desire, is a sought-after gem in the modern soul era, treasured by DJs and record collectors alike. Original pressings of this album have been known to fetch prices of up to $900, making it a true rarity. Hall, a soul/funk group, recorded only one album for Westbound before transitioning to Capitol Records for their second and final LP in 1984.
The two upcoming reissues mark a significant chapter in the revival of Westbound Records’ illustrious legacy. With a commitment to honoring the roots of these timeless classics, Westbound Records and Org Music are poised to captivate a new generation of music enthusiasts with their remastered soul and funk treasures.
For preorders and more information on these releases, visit Westbound Records’ official website here.
Listen to previews for both albums below.
Track Listing – The Counts What’s Up Front That-Counts
- What’s Up Front That-Counts
- Rhythm Changes
- Thinking Single
- Why Not Start All Over Again
- Pack Of Lies
- Rhythm Changes Reprise*
- I Know Why* *Previously Unissued
Track Listing – Eramus Hall Your Love Is My Desire
- Your Love Is My Desire
- She Shined a Light
- Feelin’ Higher
- Think Positively
- Stuck in the Mudd
- Just Me ‘N’ You
- Funk Permit
- Super Funk
- Will You Love Me Tomorrow (As You Do Today)