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Top 500 SuperSonic List - Part 29

11-27-2021 | By Claude Lemaire | Issue 119

A ray of Sunshine!

This is an ongoing project by Claude Lemaire of Soundevaluations

181. Jimmy "Bo" Horne, "Get Happy"/"It's Your Sweet Love". T.K. Disco – 33 (1977), 12", 45 rpm. Genre: funky disco, Sunshine Sound.

Jimmie Horace Horne, Jr.—better known as Jimmy "Bo" Horne—honed his singing style and success to Steve Alaimo and Henry Stone's Alston and T.K. Records company. Based in Miami, Florida, the independent sunny label became a cornerstone of the early days of disco skillfully blending soul with upbeat funky rhythms. Along with singer George McCrae, and house band KC and the Sunshine Band, Horne remained a key figure from the beginning to the label's demise in 1981. He had a string of minor hits starting in 1969 with "I Can't Speak" (Dade Records 2025), as well as "Clean Up Man" (Dade Records 2031) in 1972—the perfect companion to Betty Wright's "Clean Up Woman" (Alston Records A-4601) released a year prior. His big break came with "Gimme Some" (RCA Victor ESP-552. Span. 12-inch promo) in August 1975–which I don't own in that format to truly assess its sound. What I can confirm merits its place in this List is the 12-inch single "Get Happy" from April 1977. Written, arranged, and produced by Richard Finch and Harry Wayne Casey—hence the 'KC' band reference—it is a perfect example of the signature happy funky feel this writing production duo imbued onto the Floridian "Sunshine Sound." Not surprisingly, one can detect strong musical ties to three of KC's biggest hits "That's the Way (I Like It)" (T.K. Records TK-603 or MFSL MOFI 1-012), "(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty," and "I'm Your Boogie Man" (T.K. Records TK-605) all candidates for great mix pairings with this selection. Mastered at Kendun Recorders in Burbank, California, the main track last barely over four minutes long, while side B's "It's Your Sweet Love" clocks even shorter at roughly a minute less, ensuring plenty of groove cutting area for clean dynamic sound throughout both songs. The latter track is excellent as well, in the vein a bit of George McCrae's "Kiss Me the Way I like It" (T.K. Disco - 62) from the same period. Like most of the T.K. catalogue, the sound displays a quick tight dynamic upper bass accompanied by a clean extended treble, the only caveat being a fast fall off in the bottom octave.

182. Jimmy "Bo" Horne, "Dance Across the Floor"/"It's Your Sweet Love". T.K. Records – S TKR 12 6028 (U.K.) (1978), 12", 45 rpm. Genre: funky disco, Sunshine Sound.

"Dance Across the Floor" is an incredibly good funky disco track that strangely never got a domestic U.S. twelve-inch pressing—a bad marketing decision when you know that this type of music benefits from frequent club exposure and that deejays strongly prefer spinning the latter format over seven-inch singles or regular LPs. Fortunately it did get cut as a 45 rpm maxi-single for the U.K. market and can be had as an import. To be frank, I have not had the chance to hear the latter but am fairly confident that it be included in this List based on the music content, the excellent sound of my original U.S. album of the same name (Sunshine Sound 7801), and the general quality of U.K. maxi-singles of that era. This one also was written, arranged, and produced by Harry Wayne Casey and Richard Finch, who engineered the recording, and lacquer cut the album. Unfortunately no other credits are given for this particular U.K. 12-inch single. Note that the A side printed duration of 2.50 is incorrect; the correct duration stated by the info on Discogs' site is 5.35.

183. Jimmy "Bo" Horne, "Spank (Special Disco-Remix)"/"I Want to Go Home with You". Sunshine Sound Disco – 206, 12", 45 rpm, T.K. Records 12K4 2008 (Can.), (1979), 12", 33 1/3 rpm. Genre: funky disco, Sunshine Sound.

The original version of "Spank" was released initially as a twelve-inch single in 1978 (Sunshine Sound Disco SSD 205) and while enjoyable would not be included in this List as it lacked distinguishing itself from the pack. On the other hand the special disco remix released in April the following year includes many features that do not appear on the original version making its inclusion well founded. The song's structure now comprises a long "catchy" synth-driven riff intro, followed by four on the floor kick, hints of hi-hat, 16th note accented hi-hat, engaging bass run, and finally chorus. Further down the road, main vocals and verse come in. Then we get the first percussive clap track break, harmonica sounding horns, a full breakdown starting with only 8 beats of kick as opposed to the expected 16 beats, the bass run returns with rhythmic drive added onto it. Follows a full-fledge muting, save for solo synth riff plus hi-hat, a brief crisp snare roll, and rhythm guitar. Finally a third and last break of reverbed-horns joined by kick and conga gives the deejay a last mix opportunity. I don't have the original U.S. pressing—which I expect would sound excellent given past related productions—but I do have the first press Canadian on TK and the sound is superbly big, warm, and sweet as most Canadian Columbia TK pressings sound. Side B's "I Want to Go Home with You" is quite good musically and sonically as well.

184. Jimmy "Bo" Horne, "Is It In"/"I Want to Go Home with You". Sunshine Sound Disco – SSD-4218 (1980), 12", 33 1/3 rpm. Genre: Sunshine Sound, funky disco, dance music.

Released in November 1980 when New Wave and dance music had by now superseded disco as the main playlist on the radio and club circuit, Horne's "Is It In" was his last big hit. It is on par with any of his previous material musically and sonically for sure. Written by Ronald Kalstein and produced by Casey and Finch, this latecomer track cruising in at a mid-tempo 116 bpm, boasts a wonderful bassy groove. The intro starts with the solo bass guitar, reverbed claps come in, add kick drum, clean funky rhythm guitar, keyboards, and vocals. After the bridge, the breakdown steals the show with a near-repeat of the intro sequence and buildup—perfect for looping back to the start with a second copy for lengthening the track and energizing the crowd. The sound is incredibly good, with full range even tone balance, great dynamics for the genre, and impressive sized soundstage in all three dimensions. Clearly one of the top T.K. releases sonic wise, demo-worthy.

185. Peter Brown, "Dance with Me". T.K. Disco – 75 (1978), 12", 45 rpm, promo. Genre: disco, funky disco.

Hooking up with record producer, publisher and composer Cory Wade—known for his work with label stalwarts T-Connection and Foxy—Chicagoan singer-songwriter and producer Peter Brown signed to T.K. Records in 1977 and had his first huge hit single in September with "Do You Wanna Get Funky with Me" (T.K. Disco - 35) a slow tempo funk track, surprisingly selling over a million records. Extracted from the album A Fantasy Love Affair (Drive DR-104) from December that year, and released in February 1978, "Dance with Me" watered down the funk feel of the previous track, and veered much more towards a light uptempo yet relaxed disco style, with a few funky flourishes added on as in the clean riff rhythm guitar. Backed by Betty Wright, Patricia Hurley, and Wildflower on vocals, it turned out to be his biggest hit, and certainly my favorite song from him. Strangely it was only issued in twelve-inch format in the U.S. as a white label promo, another failed marketing strategy in my view. In addition to lead vocals and synthesizer, Brown played drums, piano, and electric piano, while the piano solo was played by writer Robert Rans. Tom Dziallo played bass and guitar. Gene Orloff was the concertmaster, with string and horn arrangements by conductor Burt Dovo. Gary Vandy and Marcos Tobal, assisted by Pat Powers engineered the track and album. It was produced and mixed at Studio Center Sound Recordings, Inc. in Miami, Florida. Strings were recorded at Sound Mixers Studios, Inc. in New York. Ted Jensen mastered it at Sterling Sound in New York. The sound is superbly rendered with even tonal balance, fine soundstage, great dynamics, tight kick, bouncy bass, clean present mids and highs, be it the guitar, piano run, strings, and all vocals. Excellent short toe-tapping demo track. Side B is identical to side A, providing a safety copy if ever a bad luck would emerge.

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