Their local pedigree was impressive. To the locals. The first incarnation of the band, known as From The Womb To The Tomb, backed a host of Chicago-based acts including Little Johnny Williams, Glenda Dove, the Five Wagers, Little Oscar, the Sequins, Johnny Moore, the Norfleets, and Ruby Andrews. In addition to a lengthy residency at the Green Bunny Lounge, Boscoe gigged 3 to 4 nights a week at The Mark IV, The Burning Spear, Bill Street, Peyton Place, and Guys and Dolls. And whenever they played the High Chapparal, crowds could well expect cameos from the likes of Garland Green, Tyrone Davis, or Syl Johnson.
Thankfully, the band would finally commit to tape—live in the studio—the original material they had carefully honed in performance. A quick and thrifty approach, the result. Boscoe, is a vibrant document of an explosive live act at their peak. Boscoe’s raw immediacy is undiminished by studio polish or perfectionism, yet every bass run booms, every vocal rumbles in just the proper manner. Before Side A is half over, we’re witness to the invocation of death, a war for peace that black America is destined to fight, Malcolm X's violent passing, brains already in the grave, God's damning of us all, and a glib parody of "The Star Spangled Banner," all served up in a crawling funk fusion as eager to blast us awake with harsh words as it is with insistent horns.
The Art Ensemble Of Chicago and Sun Ra’s Arkestra continued performing and repackaging their music in America even after their members and leaders passed on. Boscoe’s fate, however, lay on the other side of the world. As copies of the LP trickled out to Japan, word of mouth spread, positioning Boscoe as a Holy Grail. But for the members of Boscoe, the renewed interest in their unique art comes as no surprise. They didn’t record an album for just one time or place, or even one skin color. Boscoe was intended as a wake up call, a ticking clock about to ring that can be ignored no longer. The rediscovery of Boscoe’s music was less simple than that of their peers. Art Ensemble Of Chicago and Sun Ra’s Arkestra saw a major resurgence of interest in the 1990s and have continued performing and repackaging their music even as members and leaders have passed on. Across the Atlantic, the rare groove scene would embrace Phil Cohran’s Artistic Heritage Ensemble and the Pharaohs, sparking several high-profile reissues. Boscoe’s fate, however, lay on the other side of the Pacific. As copies of the LP trickled out to Japan, word of mouth spread, positioning Boscoe as a sort of Holy Grail for the genre. In 2001 Jamie Hodge began the process of researching the album for release on his Aestuarium label. Half a decade later, this reissue is built on the back of his work. For the members of Boscoe, the resurgent interest in their art comes as no surprise. They didn’t record an album for just one time or place, or even one skin color. Boscoe was intended as a wake up call, a ringing phone that can be ignored no longer.