Surf meets Soul meets Star-Spangled silliness: The Just Brothers’ ‘Sliced Tomatoes’

Another staple of my “oldies” / “soul” dj sets is this slice of juicy goodness called, um, “Sliced Tomatoes” by the Just Brothers. Originally released in 1965, “Sliced Tomatoes” combines the twang of surf with the stomp of soul, and this video adds some straight up silliness.

To most, this will be instantly recognizable as the bedrock of Fatboy Slim’s smash “Rockafeller Skank.” And in fairness to the fat boy, he didn’t do much except add some beats and some choice vocal samples. As was the case with much of the music known as ‘Big Beat’. Remember that genre? Ah, those were the days!

I just hope that these Brothers got paid.

Trawling through YouTube one night, I stumbled across this ace video for the track, produced at some point in the 90s by the British Northern Soul dj and Hi-NRG producer, Ian Levine. I don’t know if this video was deliberately designed to make you laugh, but it does, and the Brothers seem to be having a great ole time of it.

But one question, above all else, sticks in the head. This is a twangy soul record. So where is the guitar player?!

Levine says this, in the video description:

The Just Brothers were Frank and Jimmy Bryant, and drummer A.J. Sparks. Living and recording in Detroit, their huge Northern Soul anthem, “Sliced Tomatoes” was almost an accidental throw away B side instrumental. I was the first DJ to ever play this record. When I started at Blackpool Mecca in late 1971, a very very young Tony Rounce picked up the single on Music Merchant and brought it up to me to play at The Mecca. At first everyone was sceptical, because it was quite different to the usual Northern Soul sound, and almost broke the norm, but then went on to become such an anthem that, many years later, Fatboy Slim sampled it for his huge hit, “Rockefeller Skank”. Jimmy Bryant died many years ago, but Frank and A.J. very accurately recreated their classic for us for our award winning documentary, “The Strange World Of Northern Soul”.

This video is a fitting tribute. Twang on, Just Brothers! 

The Just Brothers “Sliced Tomatoes”

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
11:30 am



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