The story of the Scroggin sisters is one of the craziest and most sensational things ever seen: born and raised in the Bronx, Deborah, Marie, Renee and Valerie were given musical instruments by their mother in the mid-70s so they could stay off the streets. What neither they nor Mrs. Scroggin knew was that thanks to this maternal protection the four teenagers would carve their names in the great universal book of music.

Influenced by funk/soul and Latin music, the girls learned to play the Stones and Chaka Khan and during the learning process they decided to form a band; They called Tito Libran, a percussionist from the area, and ESG was born (letters from the initials of the sisters' baptismal names).

When they were just a few months old, they participated in a band competition, and even though they lost, they caught the attention of one of the judges, Ed Bahlman, owner of the small label 99 Records. The guy was the first to discover that strange, danceable and minimalist music that the sisters played, and instead of putting them on the disco circuit he inserted them into the punk/new wave scene that he was already part of; one of the shows scheduled by him was the opening for the A Certain Ratiothen the equally smart Tpny Wilson called Scroggin to record a three-track single for Factory under the tutelage of the crazy Martin Hannett, and thus the world became aware of “You're no good,” “UFO” and “Moody”, ESG's best-known songs and their high-water mark.

Afterwards, 99 released an EP by the group with the same songs and 3 others live, and these first records were enough to put the girls under the same umbrella as Yankee no wave (Liquid Liquid was also part of the 99 cast). and British post-punk from bands like A Certain Ratio, Gang of Four e Glaxo Babies. Why, you might ask me. Because the initial sound of the ESG is, even unintentionally, a blood brother to that produced by those mentioned in the paragraph above. Pulsating/minimalist bass lines and funky rhythm, just missing Andy Gil's guitar hahaha.

In 1983, the sisters' first album came into the world, Come away with ESG, and after that Bahlman closed 99 Records because he was financially and mentally fucked. So, even though they were loved by post-punks and the like, by the DJs in New York clubs, by the rappers who sampled their music and by everyone who discovered them (including the Beastie Boys and many others), the ESG girls had neither the money nor the desire to keep going. Recognition doesn’t pay the bills…

Until the 90s and in a very spaced manner, Fire Records and Soul Jazz rescued them and they resumed their career, but that's talk for the next round. Today we launch the super compilation Dance to the best of ESGreleased in 2010 by Fire and which brings together everything from the girls – including two other Soul Jazz compilations – and shows from A to Z why ESG is considered so influential.

If you don't know them, press play and find out. If you already have them, it's time to rediscover the power of the Scroggin Sisters.



Leave a Reply