NOW here’s an extremely sexy 7″ reissue for the scarce groove crate-diggers out there: Philadelphia’s Brewerytown Beats imprint has reissued the ultra-rare single that Power of Attorney released for Nicetown in 1973, “Changing Man”/ “I’m Just Your Clown”, with all four extra tracks cut at the same sessions to follow, none of which have been heard before.
How rare? Fair question. Rare enough for Discogs to have no record of a sale. Rare enough for the original 7″ to have only one point of sale for its original release – and that, a prison.
A prison? Yes: a prison.
Power of Attorney was initially the rehabilitative project of Theodore “Ted” Wing, activities director at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution at Graterford, 30 miles north west of Philadelphia.
In 1972 he opened a recording studio inside the prison to offer a creative outlet for inmates. That November an audition was held at the prison to form a band; the story is more than 1,600 auditioned.
Wing ultimately settled on a line-up that consisted of William Smith, lead guitar; Charles McDowell, bass; Merion Wilson, tenor sax; Edward JX Smith, guitar, and Otis Graham, drums.
In January 1973, Power Of Attorney got the chance to record at Sigma Sound Studios, the legendary space that helped birth the Philly sound. One of the tracks they laid down was “Changing Man”, an original composition by bassist McDowell.
“It tells the story of a man who made a mistake, and after a while in jail, he gets his head together, and realizes it’s time to straighten it out,” the
21-year-old serving life for murder told The Philadelphia Daily News upon the single’s release.
The 7″ was sold directly from the prison activities office; 500 only were pressed. It would, however, lead to bigger things: 1974 saw Polydor release the band’s sole LP, From The Inside… and the outfit would go on to play more than 400 gigs outside the walls of the correction facility.
Let’s move to the present day, and we find Max Ochester, owner of Brewerytown Beats, digging in the Sigma tape archives at Drexel University; he notices two tapes, with only “P.O.A.” scribbled on the spines. These two-inch multi-reels contained six songs, four of them previously unreleased, all from 1973.
The full original studio tapes for Power Of Attorney’s “Changing Man” sessions had been found, 47 years later.
Take a listen to our embed below for some superb and bona-fide jailbird Philly soul funk.
The single is available now from Brewerytown Records on vinyl and on digital streaming platforms. The label will follow this up with the vinyl and streaming release of all six songs on that long-lost tape before the year is out.