Sleepy's Theme

The Vinyl Room

With powerhouse production trio Organized Noize, Sleepy Brown orchestrated Atlanta's hallmark sound of the 90s; his slow-cooked southern-fried G-Funk providing hits for TLC, Outkast and Goodie Mob. However, by 1998 and post-Aquemini, his desire was to take centre stage. The dizzying result was Sleepy's Theme and their wonderful throwback LP, The Vinyl Room. Their vintage, 70s soul-steeped magnum opus was promptly passed on by Jimmy Iovine at Interscope, released only on CD on a limited scale, and mostly...um...slept on.

To mark the 20th anniversary, Be With Records finally present the album on the format it was so clearly inspired by yet seemingly destined never to appear on. The inaugural vinyl edition of this landmark record boldly arrives as a DJ friendly double LP, fully remastered and pressed loud and heavy at 180g. Elegantly housed in a sleek, sumptuous gatefold jacket, adorned with an appropriately pimped-out purple foil layer, it features printed lyrics across two double-sided inner sleeves.

Blending organic instrumentation from one of the tightest, greasiest, yet sophisticated bands in the land, The Vinyl Roompresented dreamy melodies, warm synth textures, stately horns and wayward beats. Brown conceived his garage funk band as adhering to the sonic touchstones of Blaxploitation and he achieved it. Featuring keyboardist/singer Eddie Stokes, drummer Victor Rico Cortez, guitarist Bill Odum, vocalist Keisha Jackson and the late Pimp C, the sound was always going to be in the pocket.

While it eschewed contemporary trends, the underground sound was nevertheless fresh and grounded in the hat-tip spirit of hip-hop. With Sleepy bragging that there were no samples, The Vinyl Roomcomprised a richly textured, mesmerizing and confident sound where the recurring themes were women, cars and weed. As he explained, the music of the 70s wasn't computerized, it was just realness from the heart and that's what we captured. Indeed, Brown wasn't just inspired by bygone funk; he grew-up in it. As a boy, he travelled to gigs with his music playing father and founder of the legendary Brick: Jimmy Brown.