In 1971, in the midst of America's conflict in Vietnam, the U.S. Army held a show-band contest and showcased the two winning bands in a promotional album. East of Underground, the gritty runner-up, managed to capture the spirit of America with their sweet-soul covers of Sly Stone, Curtis Mayfield, and Funkadelic. The quality of the recording is superior, as is the musicianship: the falsetto harmonies, the gritty guitar, the devouring drums. But song choice is just as responsible for the success of the album. Unlike other obscure-funk reissues and compilations, East of Underground is immediately familiar, instantly gratifying, and endlessly playable. And especially poignant today. Only a handful of original copies known to exist, the album is now reissued for the first time on CD.