I have really enjoyed the 1980s feel to the album An Invitation To Her’s. I was really sad to hear about the band’s sudden demise in California this week. R.I.P. Stephen Fitzpatrick and Audun Laading.
Two years after penning the dancefloor classic ‘Touch & Go’ for Ecstasy, Passion & Pain, Philly legend Bunny Sigler produced one of my all time favourite disco tracks. Like many of best disco moments (think ‘Jingo’, ‘Love Break’ and ‘Let’s Start A Dance’), Instant Funk’s ‘I Got My Mind Made Up’ is relentless in its groove. This sultry classic would be immortalised by Public Enemy’s Welcome To The Terrordome’ and De La Soul’s ‘A Roller Skating Jam Named Saturdays’ in 1990-91. Bunny Sigler died last month; some of the Sound of Philadelphia went with him. R.I.P.
R.I.P. Chuck Berry. Will it be ‘Maybellene’, ‘Roll Over Beethoven’, ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’, ‘Memphis, Tennessee’ or ‘No Particular Place To Go’? No. For the most memorable guitar intro in rock’n’roll, it has to be ‘Johnny B. Goode’ – the song based on the tale of a boy from humble beginnings with a talent for guitar. Have a great week.
It’s a buttery start to the week for I’ve just learned that Al Jarreau died yesterday. His canon of work that so seamlessly bridged pop, jazz funk and R&B, is largely lost on me; mainly because it so seamlessly bridged pop, jazz funk and R&B. However, after much of his most celebrated recordings has passed, he wrote and recorded this Nile Rodgers-produced tune for a TV series that left an indelible feelgood mark on my memory. R.I.P.
This week, the mythic William Onyeabor died at home, in Enugu, southeast Nigeria, aged 70. Onyeabor was a pioneering electronic-funk musician who extraordinarily self-released 9 ground-breaking albums between 1977-1985. He composed, recorded, pressed and printed the work at Wilfilms Limited—his personal pressing plant in Enugu. As David Byrne said this week, wherever he’s gone, it’s sure to be a place with a lot of heart and some killer grooves. RIP William. Have a great weekend.
Before I walk away for Easter, I’ve just read that Malik Taylor has died at the premature age of 45. In 1990, Malik and his crew A Tribe Called Quest released People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm, an odd mix of rap, hip hop and jazzy rhymes. It was in the alternative furrow that De La Soul had furrowed the year before with their 3 Feet High And Rising. I recall flipping the vinyl and listening to the start of the B-side: ‘Bonita Applebum’ followed by ‘Can I Kick It?’. Genius. R.I.P. Phife Dawg.
Bandmate Philip Bailey once said that Maurice White’s whole vision was to “sneak a little jazz on people”. Before 1975’s breakthrough album That’s the Way of the World, this had tended to entail White’s masterful production overlaid onto a Sly Stone sounding groove. But with this title track, EW&F found their own jazz funk groove. “Hearts of fire creates love desire.” Maurice White R.I.P.