F.B.I. was a nine-piece English funk band that released a self-titled album on Tony Visconti’s Good Earth label in 1976.

Members: Root Jackson (vocals), Bonnie Wilkinson (vocals), Jaime Black (guitar, flute), Raffi Pereira (guitar), Lennox Meade (bass), Alan Fealdman (keyboards), Lloyd Smith (saxophone), Herscel Holder (trumpet), Stephen Dixon (drums)


Funky Bands Incorporated (F.B.I.) formed when keyboardist Alan Fealdman teamed with trumpeter Herscel Holder, saxophonist Lloyd Smith, bassist Lennox Meade, and singer Root Jackson.

Fealdman first appeared in the blues-psych band Jasper, which cut the 1969 album Liberation on Spark Records. In 1970, he joined the brass-rock septet Trifle, which cut the 1971 album First Meeting on Dawn. In that band, he played alongside trumpeter Dick Cuthell, who enjoyed a prolific subsequent career (Nasty Pop, The Specials, The Selecter, Joan Armatrading, Chas Jankel, Level 42, etc).

Holder and Smith played on the 1975 albums Is Having a Wonderful Time by American bluesman Geoff Muldaur and Mind Your Own Business! by Irish folksters Henry McCullough. As F.B.I. got underway, Holder played on the 1976 albums Renowned by the Irish folk duo Gay & Terry Woods (once of Steeley Span) and Howlin Wind, the debut album by Graham Parker and the Rumour.

Meade played on the 1976 release Feel the Rhythm by long-running Jamaican reggae trio The Pioneers.

Jackson hailed from Carriacou, West Indies. Between 1968 and 1970, he cut four singles on UK indie Beacon as half of the soul-funk duo Root & Jenny Jackson.

F.B.I. became a nine-piece with singer Bonnie Wilkinson, drummer Stephen Dixon, and guitarists Jaime Black and Raffi Pereira. They were part of a small group of acts (Surprise Sisters, RAH Band, Omaha Sheriff, Tzuke & Paxo) signed to Good Earth, the short-lived label of producer Tony Visconti (The Move, David Bowie, Strawbs, Osibisa).

The Album

F.B.I. released their self-titled album on Good Earth in 1976. It features four songs per side: six originals and covers of Stevie Wonder (“Keep On Running) and J.R. Bailey (“Love, Love, Love”). The others are credited between the band and select members, such as “Talking About Love” (Wilkinson/Holder), “Free Prison” (Black), “Bad Deal” (Jackson), and “Let Me Love You” (Wilkinson).

The band’s theme song, “F.B.I.” (Jackson/Pereira), starts the album. It was lifted as a 7″, backed with the Wilkinson/Holder “The Time Is Right to Leave the City.”

F.B.I. was produced by engineer Chris Kimsey (Stray Dog, Peter Frampton, Marianne Faithfull, Fingerprintz). The label sports the trademark Good Earth logo and illustration: a transatlantic Earth map face. The original release (cat# GDS 802) appeared between titles by the Surprise Sisters (st) and Omaha Sheriff (Come Hell or Waters High). Those three albums were the only LPs of Good Earth’s two-year run.

The cover art to F.B.I. is by illustrator Roger Lowe, who also did album visuals for Alvin Lee. It shows the nine members inside an eye. Thematically, this recalls the close-up eye visual of 1969–71 albums by Swinging Soul Machine, The Greatest Show On Earth (Horizons), and Supersister (To the Highe$t Bidder).

“F.B.I.” appears on the 1977 Vee-Jay Vintage Series comp The Best of British Rock, which also features cuts by Rod Argent, Eric Clapton, Humble Pie, Mary Hopkin, and the Small Faces.

Later Activity

Holder and Lloyd locked horns on one track (“It’s Our Time”) on the 1977 album Message Man by Eddy Grant. Holder played on 1979–81 albums by the African artists Jake Sollo, Tom Youms, Kofi Ayivor, and Sonny Okosuns Ozziddi, plus the multi-national Black Slate. In 1982, he played on Pelican West by Haircut One Hundred. He also appears on one track (“Preachin’ Genocide”) on Grant’s 1980 fourth solo album Love In Exile, which features Meade on the track “Use It or Lose It.”

Meade played on 1978/79 albums by Mark Holder and Liberian singer Miatta Fahnbulleh. In 1980, he played on the album Drip Dry Zone by S.W.9., a post-punk project led by guitarist Kevin Armstrong (Iggy Pop, The Passions) with Thomas Dolby, Soft Boys bassist Matthew Seligman, and Thompson Twins frontman Tom Bailey. Armstrong and Meade formed Bush Telegraph and cut the high-tech 1985 album Wednesday In Arcady.

Fealdman played on the 1977 album Golden Flight by Japanese singer Momoe Yamaguchi. He then joined Sniff ‘n’ the Tears for their 1978 first album Fickle Heart. In the ’90s, he surfaced behind ex-Moon vocalist Noel McCalla.

Pereira appears on the 1983 release Praise Jah by reggae act Jah Lion. Dixon joined the late-period backing band of Gary Moore.

Jackson cut the 1991 funk album Freestyle with Unfinished Business. Their self-named track appears on the b-side of a 1992 archival F.B.I. single that pairs “Talking About Love” with the long-vaulted “Get That Ball.” The last of those has since been added as a ninth track on CD versions of F.B.I., as issued on Kongo Dance (1992) and Soul Brother Records (2001). In 2011, Big Break Records ‎reissued F.B.I. with the addition of “Tell the Truth” and two live numbers, “Zilch” and the 13-minute “Lead Us.”


  • F.B.I. (1976)


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