The original dance band returns to the floor
By Dean Rudland
It's not often that Tony Rounce and myself are taken back to our younger days, just over a decade ago, when DJ chart returns, what was played on KISS, or Choice, or, God forbid in Ibiza, was a central part of our lives. 'Banging tunes' have these days taken a back seat in our lives as we discuss for days on end whether Cropper or Young is the better guitarist (an honourable draw), or if the window in the office should be left open or closed (that one might yet come to blows). But, suddenly, we are back in that world thanks to the wonderful, influential and often sampled music of Fatback.
Now we all know who Fatback are. The New Jersey-based street funk outfit emerged in the early 70s on the Perception label, and set about lighting up the charts from then on. After a couple of minor hits the band switched to Event/Spring and had a run of hit singles and albums that lasted well into the 80s. In the UK they were, if anything, even bigger, scoring pop Top 10s and recording one of the ultimate soul boy anthems in I Found Lovin', bigger than the Empire State building for a while. And just as the hits stopped coming, they were embraced by the hip hop community who, armed with their Akai samplers, started, well, sampling the band with shocking alacrity, bringing them to the attention of a whole new audience.
With this in mind, Ace Records, in collaboration with studio wizard Rob Keyloch, started to put together an album of remixes, using the original multi-track tapes as the basis for the process. Jamiroquai producer Mike Neilsen was the first on board and he was soon followed by Tony Thorpe of the Moody Boys, Transglobal Underground, Lightfoot, Temple Of Sound and a host of others (listed on the left). They all created a unique and interesting take on the band, retaining the good groove musical legacy of Fatback, whilst giving it a contemporary edge.
Now this is where the sudden re-entry into a world I thought I had left long ago. When a remix project gets finished, you always worry if it's any good. So we decided to press up a promo twelve inch single, and get it mailed to DJs. The two tracks we chose were Spanish Hustle (remixed by Lightfoot) and Groovy Kind Of Day (remixed by Tony Thorpe and Ben Ashbourne), and the reactions were great. With all sorts of DJ's charting and playing it, we think we have a winner.