Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Fatback's 1980 Throwback

Fatback - Street Band

The Fatback Band's good-time groove graced recordings from the late '60s into the 1980s for Perception, Event and Spring (the later recordings credited only to "Fatback"), and although they never were as big as some of their contemporaries (like Kool & The Gang), the band's dancefloor slant, be it on minimalist funk records like "Wicky Wacky," disco-slanted stuff like "(Are You Ready) Do The Bus Stop" or club funk records like "Get Out On The Dance Floor" or the proto-rap "King Tim III (Personality Jock)," gave the group exceptional longevity and regular chart presence. Although I prefer the older Fatback material generally, finding the latter records to be too slick for my tastes, today's selection is a pleasant exception.

"Street Band" came from Fatback's 1980 Spring LP Hot Box, and it gained single release as the flip side to "Gotta Get My Hands On Some Money." "Street Band" features a nice shuffle groove that is more akin to records like "Doing It To Death" than to the go-go groove that was bubbling up at the time. After a very good sax solo sets the tone, the warm vocals and good-timing nature of the tune seals the deal, even down to the call-and-response scat singing at the end. Although some of the "1980 sound" sneaks in here and there (especially in the horn break late in the tune) the overall result is a pleasant throwback record. It's a funky good time!

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