Mates’ Crates: Trussel – Love Injection

Mates’ Crates, a series headed up by our friend Andrei Sandu, dives into the tales behind records and digs deeper into our connections to music. Another funk selection this time, with Trussel’s “Love Injection”. 

Label: Elektra Records  | Year: 1980 | Discogs: Trussel – Love Injection

From Jayda G to Sadar Bahar, I’ve heard so many of my favourite DJs play Trussel, just as Larry Levan and others did before them. For such a short-lived band, their lasting influence is a testament to the quality of the music they did make in that time.

Formed in 1973 of students from Virginia State University, they gained regional attention through their debut single “The Bicentennial Boogie“, released on a label they formed themselves in 1975. Its B-Side, “How Many Tricks” expressed frustration with American politicians in the aftermath of Watergate and the Vietnam War.

The band’s profile grew further as they became Evelyn “Champagne” King’s touring group, performing with her shortly before she was propelled to international fame by her 1977 single “Shame“. The band recalls being offered a record deal in their dressing room after RCA’s president heard them playing with King, but nothing came of it.

Nonetheless, their 1980 album is spectacular, a masterclass in funk, perhaps unsurprising given it was produced by Fred Wesley who led James Brown’s band in the early 70s.  Its lead single, “Love Injection”, is eight minutes of heat which just keeps getting hotter,  sustained by an irresistible bassline, impeccably placed claps and uplifting key changes. The second track on the A-Side, “I Love It” is (almost) just as good.

Listening to the lyrics, I noticed that “Love Injection” – just like Carl Carlton’s “This Feeling’s Rated Xtra” – uses the word “jonesing” to mean craving. Digging a bit deeper, I discovered that the phrase (which I’d never heard in the UK) originated as a code name for heroin, with Beatnicks in the late 1950s “looking for Mr. Jones” when searching for a dealer. The term evolved to refer to the addiction, before expanding to mean any severe longing by the early 1970s.

Such a fantastic album begs the question of why there was never more. Trussel fell out with Elektra Records management, who refused to put the band’s photo on album. Whilst the inner sleeve has photos of all Trussel’s members, it is presumed that the label didn’t want black faces on the cover. Trussel refused Elektra’s offer of a second album, and broke up in the early 1980s.

Though we will never know quite how much more funk the world missed out on as a result, I’m certainly glad of what we do have on “Love Injection”, and I’ve had it on repeat for days.