the Soul Searchers – Ashley’s Roachclip


Right guys, wrong LP.

Kenny Scoggins bottom left, Lloyd Pinchback bottom right.



Listen/download – The Soul Searchers –  Ashley’s Roachclip MP3

Greetings all.

I hope you’re all reveling in the mellow magic of the latest edition of the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast. If so, you’re probably in the mood for something a little more upbeat.
Today’s selection is an object lesson in context, or more importantly the value of a really solid drummer.
If you aren’t familiar with the group the Soul Searchers, or more specifically with the song ‘Ashley’s Roachclip’, once the band steps back to give the drummer some the sounds jumping from your earbuds onto your brain ought to start some bells ringing.
My first exposure to the Soul Searchers, at least as a name, was via the mergence of the the band’s leader Chuck Brown as a leading light of the Go Go scene in Washington, DC. It was only some years later that I started to pick up Soul Searchers 45s in the field.
It was a few years after that, upon picking up a copy of a compilation (the name of which escapes me now) of OG records sampled by hip hoppers, that I first encountered ‘Ashley’s Roachclip’. I’m sitting there, doing something or other with the CD playing in the background, when after a few minutes of a song that I didn’t recognize at all, a drum break started that caused my ears to perk up instantly.
It was one of those


moments where you’re processing something incredibly familiar, but can’t quite put your finger on where you know it from.
So, I grab the CD booklet, find my way to the Soul Searchers entry and just as I read up to the pertinent details, it hit me.
Milli Vanilli…
Oh shit! These were the drums that producer Frank Farian chopped no less than three times for use on Milli Vanilli records. Then I read on and realized that they had also been sampled by PM Dawn for ‘Set Adrift on Memory Bliss’ (a slightly more subtle bit of sample-age) and my feelings of revulsion were scaled back a bit (just a bit mind you..).
Then I gave the Soul Searchers OG several more listens and realized that no matter how badly fouled these wondrous drums had been by lipsynching Eurotrash, placed back in their original, far jazzier context, the power of the drummer was amplified considerably.
The Soul Searchers had been formed in the late 60’s by Chuck Brown, a journeyman guitarist and vocalist who had played in several DC-area bands like Los Latinos and the Earls of Rhythm. Their first single was a smoking cover of James Brown’s ‘There Was a Time’ for the And-Ray label (a 45 that I’ve been hunting for years with no success). They were signed to Sussex in 1972 and went on to record two excellent LPs – We the People (1972) and Salt of the Earth (1974) – for the label.
Though Brown is the undisputed leader of the band, the credit for ‘Ashley’s Roachclip’ belongs to two members in particular; flute/sax player Lloyd Pinchback (who wrote the song) and drummer Kenny Scoggins, who laid down that sweet, sweet, SHWEEET break.
Both of the Sussex Lps have a jazzy underpinning, but ‘Salt of the Earth’ really takes it to another level, with the band adding a serious dose of swing to their funky grooves, with ‘Ashley’s Roachclip’ being the finest example thereof. The cool thing is – at least for me – is that what we have here is an equation where the quality of the song surrounding the break is equal to that of the break itself (this really ought to be worked out on a chalkboard), resulting in a record of exceedingly high quality. It’s almost like one of those old Raymond Loewy designs where an item has both a practical use (that oft sampled break) and is also a thing of beauty (the song itself). This of course cannot be said of every bit of sample-bait.
There’s of course the matter of the break itself, in which Kenny Scoggins demonstrates that nothing – no machine, no computer, no way, no how – can beat a serious drummer who is deep inside the pocket. I dare you to listen to the beat he’s laying down without starting to move.
A few years after ‘Salt of the Earth’, Brown (already well into his 40’s) and the Soul Searchers helped give birth to Go Go with their ‘Bustin’ Loose’ LP. Brown is still working it out today.

List of records sampling ‘Ashley’s Roachclip’ (via Sample FAQ):

2 Live Crew’s “Ghetto Bass II”
3rd Bass’s “Oval Office”
Antoinette’s “Unfinished Business”
Antoinette’s “Watch the Gangstress Boogie”
Black Rock & Ron’s “Out of My Head”
Conscious Daughters’s “Princess of Poetry”
Cutty Ranks’s “The Stopper”
DJ Mark the 45 King’s “Roach Clip”
Eazy-E’s “Gimme That Nutt”
EMF’s “Unbelievable”
Eric B and Rakim’s “I Know You Got Soul”
Eric B and Rakim’s “Paid in Full”
Eric B and Rakim’s “Paid in Full”
Fear of a Black Planet’s “I’m Just a Human”
Frost’s “Family Affair”
Get the Fist Movement’s “Get the Fist”
Geto Boys’s “Scarface”
Ice Cube’s “Jackin’ for Beats”
Insane Poetry’s “Angel of Death”
Kris Kross’s “Methods of Dropping Mental”
LL Cool J’s “Jack the Ripper”
Masters at Work’s “Jus’ a Lil’ Dope”
Mekon’s “Phatty’s Lunch Box”
Milli Vanilli’s “All or Nothing”
Milli Vanilli’s “Blame it on the Rain”
Milli Vanilli’s “Girl You Know It’s True”
Moby’s “First Cool Hive”
Nice & Smooth’s “Down the Line”
PM Dawn’s “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss”
Raw Fusion’s “Hang Time”
Run-DMC’s “Run’s House”
S.O.U.L. S.Y.S.T.E.M.’s “It’s Gonna Be a Lovely Day”
Scarface’s “Mr. Scarface Pt 3 – The Final Chapter – He’s Dead”
Style’s “Just a Little Something”
Sweet T’s “I Got the Feelin”
The Grouch’s “Too Much On It”
Twin Hype’s “Nothin’ Could Save Ya”

PS Anyone know who Ashley was?


16 Responses to “the Soul Searchers – Ashley’s Roachclip”

  1. paul Says:

    I had the same ‘wait a minute’ reaction when I heard the drum sequence. Thank goodness it reminded me of Eric B & Rakim, not Milli Vanilli.
    You broaden my horizon with every post, Larry. Thank you, thank you!

  2. fleamarketfunk Says:

    classic, classic break larry. great one!


  3. Vincent the Soul Chef Says:

    I NEVER knew that it was these cats who were responsible for one of the greatest drum breaks in history. There’s a first time for everything… and thankfully I never put a good ear on ANY of those Milli Vanilli records either. I must admit that I was forced to play them at a gig I did for a friend back in the day. I had to be high to suffer through the monotony, and I did get paid a sizable amount of cash for the gig so I guess it wasn’t toooooo bad. At any rate, thanks for yet another inspiring lesson and another tremendous share!

    P.S. Wasn’t Ashley Roachclip the one who gave the glowing testimonial for “Acapulco Gold Filters”? “…this weed’s a muthafukka, man” :-0

    Peace and blessings.

  4. Funky16Corners Take on Ashley’s Roachclip | Funk Deli Says:

    […] So let’s try this out. Go and visit Funky16Corners and download Ashley’s Roachclip. […]

  5. jb Says:

    On “Big Bambu,” Cheech and Chong did a routine in which the president of “United Heads for Hemp” was named Ashley Roachclip. Any chance that’s it?

  6. funky16corners Says:

    The Cheech and Chong ref has to be correct. I hd an inkling about that, but I kept missing ‘Ashley Roachclip’ and going right to ‘Jefferson Hairbrush’. I can’t imagine why I’d be experiencing cognitive dissonance in relation to a Cheech and Chong routine…..errrr…where was I again? 😉

  7. Jackie Treehorn Says:

    Thank you for another big one, Larry. If it’s ok to you I’ll add you to our blogroll at
    Keep on logjammin’! Chris aka Jackie Treehorn

  8. FunkDeli Says:

    Yo Larry,

    Awesome post man, I added your site to my blogroll and I’ll be checking back frequently for more funky education nuggets. Thanks and take care.


  9. Vincent the Soul Chef Says:

    Yeah, Larry. Check out the first C&C album. It’s Ashley Roachclip from the Jefferson Hairpie…

    I’m off to find this monumental record now!

  10. funky16corners Says:

    Now, “hairpie” is much funnier than “hair brush”. I miss Cheech and Chong.

    PS Dave’s not here man! b/w Tull can shit wherever he wants man!

  11. Says:

    I’ve been trying to dig up DC go-go recently. Trouble Funk, Mass Extinction, Chuck Brown, Rare Essence, Experience Unlimited, etc.

    I just got a 7 inch copy of “Game Seven” and continue to be pleasantly surprised by Chuck Brown’s amazing output. And when I hear Ashley, I hear P.M. Dawn. I can’t help it.

  12. themusicologist Says:

    chuck brown…transports me back to the early 80’s when, for a brief moment, ‘electro’ and go-go went head to head, on London’s streets, and battled for dancefloor prizes for guessing which one came out on top…

    thanks Larry

  13. Pete Gloria Says:

    When I first stumbled into this track all I got in the memory banks was Soul II Soul. I can’t remember what Milli Vanilli sounded like, thank god (tho unfortunately I remember the leggings… now that’s a good way of having a nightmare).
    And I just wanted to second anyone’s love for Raymond Loewy – The Man.

  14. Lloyd Pinchback Says:

    Hello guys! I just happened upon this website today where I found this extraordinary interest in the instrumental, Ashley’s Roachclip. Yes, I am really Lloyd A. Pinchback. If you don’t mind, I will give you a little history of the song’s origin. Blogger JB got it right; the title is actually from a Cheech & Chung LP titled “Big Bambu”, which was released in the late 60’s. The album cover was quite novel in that it was designed to mock a pack of cigarette rolling papers and actually included one huge sheet of paper to be used to in essence “roll your own.” During those days (i.e. late 60’s, early 70’s), rolling my own was among my several daily preoccupations (if you know what I mean). A comedy album, I believe the title of the track was Dr. Ashley Roachclip. I never thought that Cheech & Chung and Pinchback would ever have anything in common, but I just so happened to borrow a character from one of their comedy routines. My middle name being “Ashley” along with my affinity for the roachclip, the connection was made.

    The Soul Searchers were in the process of developing and recording our second LP for Sussex Records. Although I had been composing music since high school, I missed the opportunity to include anything on the first LP, but really wanted to get SOMETHING on the second. So, with the help of fellow band member, who’s initials are by the way “JB”, Ashley’s Roachclip came to be. JB was the de facto “learned musician” in the group at the time and it was him who did the manuscript for the piece for copyright. It was a last minute achievement, but it did make the “Salt of the Earth” LP which was released in 1974.

    Thanks to all of you for your interest in Ashley’s Roachclip. I will gladly entertain any additional queries you might have.

    Lloyd A. Pinchback

  15. D.B. Coleman Says:

    Uncle Lloyd, I had no clue this song which i have know since a child (after all mom had the album:) was sampled by so many!! Trying to educate my kids on the history of their family and stumbled upon this site myself, I just hope you get ur just credit for lending the beat to so many club “bangers”.


  16. slizzard Says:

    a lot more sampling songs of this track listed at my site… became standard drums for early 90s NOLA bounce tracks

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: