on 19 February 2012
I can remember hugging the sleeve of my vinyl copy of `Step into our Life' when I got my US import copy in 1978. I couldn't believe I'd got such a great record on my turntable (ok my Dad's turntable) and such great grooves in my headphones. Having waited until late 2011 to have it on CD, my love for this music is undiminished.
Though `Heat of the Beat' was a club hit, I always preferred the offbeat funky ballad `For Real'. Bassist Nathaniel Phillips did a great job on this and other tracks from the album. The jazzy `Ooh Baby' is very catchy and will get under your skin - whether you want it to or not! If I had to choose a favourite song, it would be that title track with the spine-tingling harp and strings on the intro, then a chunky groove and some great vibes and trombone soloing. However, the ice-cool piano on `No Deposit, No Return' and the insane bass, talking guitar (think Joe Walsh on `Rocky Mountain Way') and chants on `Take your Funky Mind to the Disco' make this a tricky choice - and always did.
I've only heard `Prime Time' in recent years and so I don't have the same love affair with it. Having said that it's easy to fall for the charms of `Thank You, Thank You', the Latin sway of `Weekend Lover' and the ridiculously catchy `Can you Dance'. I also love the funky `It Ain't your Sign It's your Mind' - a Roy Ayers track through and through and one which originally appeared on `Everybody Loves the Sunshine'. It's interesting to see how Ayers and Henderson picked up on the disco hand-clap sound that was everywhere in 1980 and did something interesting with it on `Million Dollar Baby'.
Whether or not you knew or had these records first time around, they are great albums and Cherry Red Records deserve a big kiss for putting these out in reasonably-priced 2-CD package for our groovin' pleasure.