Monday, May 05, 2008
Fern Kinney - Groove Me
Today's post is a rare foray into late-'70s disco, but this stone groover is worth such a trip. Jackson, Mississippi native Fern Kinney started out as a member of the Poppies, whose "Lullaby of Love," recorded before she joined the group, was a minor hit in 1966. After an unsuccessful solo release on Atlantic in 1968, Kinney turned to studio background work over at Malaco Studios, and her backing vocals graced hits such as King Floyd's "Groove Me," Jean Knight's "Mr. Big Stuff," and former Poppies singer Dorothy Moore's "Misty Blue." Over a decade after the failed Atlantic single, Fern attempted another grab at the brass ring and found it with her sultry disco version of "Groove Me." After the Malaco single began to gather some steam, it was picked up by TK for a 12-inch release, and from there it rocketed to #6 on Billboard's Club Play chart in 1979. A second disco release, "Together We Are Beautiful," didn't do so well stateside but hit #1 in the U.K. Further international success was not forthcoming, however, and after a couple of more minor hits Kinney returned to session work as the disco era ended.
Today's feature is the single edit of "Groove Me." The catchy bassline and some of the horn lines from the King Floyd original are adapted into the updated groove, but Fern's seductive cooing and the dance beat really take the song to a different place than Wardell Quezerque's 1971 arrangement. It really works, though, and it shows that there were indeed some fine disco records being made at the beginning of the end of the disco era.
(EDITOR'S NOTE - This week is going to be quite a busy one, with exams, a paper, family arrivals and my graduation, so today's post will be the last until next week. Look out for a new edition of the podcast in a week or two, brought to you by the newly-minted "Esquire of Soul"!)