Ace's long-time, and ongoing, commitment to the ever-funky Fatback Band has reached new heights in the 21st century, with many new projects either already issued or waiting in the bulging Steele Road pipeline for imminent release.
2002 has already brought us Fatback Funky and Fatback Mellow - concepts especially designed to shine a spotlight into some of the less-explored corners of Fatback's back-cat, as well as to reinforce the fact that there's always been more to the band than the disco hits that they're perhaps best known for. But as that Mr. Jolson was once happy to proclaim, wait a minute folks - you ain't heard nothin' yet!
Even as I type, our Ady is beavering away on a fascinating collection of early FB artefacts of funk and soul from the band's own Fat Back label (and their pre-Perception days), hopefully for release on Kent later this year or early next. Besides this, young Rudland and yours truly are putting the final touches to our 2CD Ultimate Fatback set, which should also be ready to roll early next year. And beyond even that there's the mouth-watering prospect of a Fatback remix album, featuring newly-created reworkings of some of the group's most cherished dancefloor anthems and some previously unissued killer cuts from the mid-to-late 70s!
Before we get to all that, though, it's time to get to this. Even among Fatback fanatics, the group's 1988 album Tonite's An All Nite Party is something of an unknown quantity. Even though it did get a release here in the UK on the Start label (which promptly belied its name, and stopped not long after TAANP hit the racks...) the set's original distribution seems to have been fairly minimal - and as a result, many dance music fans seem to be unaware of the album's very existence...
...Not any more, though, as this month TAANP joins the 16 titles that comprise Fatback's original Event and Spring albums, to become another all-singing, all-dancing part of Ace's Southbound catalogue. The album definitely lives up to its title, with the accent predominantly on the upbeat and typically mid-80s electro-rhythms driving its club-friendly grooves. (And as is the case at any good all-night party, there's also a well-placed cool down zone midway through the proceedings. For all you fans of Fatback's way with a soul ballad, TAANP contains one of their very best slow jams in Stop And Take The Time). Sure it's something of a quantum clubland leap from the likes of Yum Yum or Keep On Steppin', but the many lovers of Fatback's post disco-era albums will find that it fits and sits comfortably next to latterday FB thrillers like With Love, On The Floor and Is This The Future?
If anyone knows how to throw a party on record, the Fatback Band sure do. And if you're looking for such a thing, you've come to the right place 'cos as long as you own this CD, "Tonight" (and any night) is "An All Nite Party". Best have those disco slippers on standby for action...
By Tony Rounce