Rhythm Makers – 1976 – Soul On Your Side (plus GQ 1979)
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Rip, research and review by Groovegirl
Posting by Nikos
What can you expect from this rare to hunt down‘76 recording coming straight out from the De-Lite Sound studio in the “City of brotherly love” Philly, I’ll tell you exactly what straightforward: laidback captivating funk at its rawest. Let’s get the facts shall we. Who are the compromisers of funk aesthetic here? The name of the game starts at 1968.The soul disco group formed way as “Sabu & the Survivors”, evolving later on in 1970s as The Rhythm Makers. The core membership straight from The Bronx of New York played tunes professionaly. Success came due to discotized & RnB metamorphosis right after the name transition as the prime slick GQ band (all previous musical incarnations existed after). The original four members from this unwrapable identity process consist of lead vocalist Emanuel “Rahiem” LeBlanc (lead rhythm guitars/vocals)[also participant in older groups Sons of Darkness,Third Chance], Keith “Sabu” Crier (bass/vocals), Herb Lane(keyboards/vocals) and Kenny Banks(drums/vocals). At the time Kenny Banks left the Rhythm Makers ,Paul Service joined in (member GQ) .Later on Service was replaced in the 1980s with Steve Adorno. As we can see there is a three period history on this plate. We are going to taste the sensual second base and are talking about a three way process with a variety of sign off labels and styles. A thing for you all to dig in and enjoy the outtake of funk maturity. As a naturist I’m picking out the album “Soul on your side” due to memory shots from my father’s musical tastes (respect).
A1. Can You Feel It (Part 1) 2.10
A2. You Better Believe It 3.40
A3. Soul on Your Side 3.35
B3.You’re My Last Girl 3.16
B5.Can You Feel It (Part 2) 0.44
It all comes down to, 29:13” where your craving never stops. This first Rhythm Makers release on Vigor records finds the hip funksters performing a wip of instrumental, tasteful and satisfying mid/uptempo songs. A breezy undergoing jam that’s floating strings into their own idiosyncratic infinity. Leading voice Rahiem sure is the ambassador of driving the beat with his smoothed out honey joy vocals. Talking primarily about life and cutting the history down in two tracks “Can you feel it Part1/Part2” we play along in the mystique “Zone”. As the band didn’t get until then the attention that it deserved around the surrounding states of NY, major dance floor smash hit “Zone” pumped up the decks and became popular on both sides of the Atlantic in 1976. You can hear the beastly bass of Crier, slowly creeping out of the gorgeous understated stardom of “Zone”. A sparkling flashy groove in which Lane’s keyboard flames on by. You can’t miss title track “Soul on Your Side”, setting the paradigm as it’s a fixed match to later on Disco Nights/Rock Freak [in later GQ album Disco Nights 1979] with over harmonized words and intense synthesized grooves embraced with discofueld elements of the early 80s.
Dichotomized past and future. They spun the wheel. First side groovy, second flip disco. In the long run, they earned the music game fair play. At least someone is evolving through time here. “Street Dreaming” is an enthralling mellow tune onto dreamland pathway, oozing feelings of the world with a shoo wap line. Check out the lyrics “ basketball bouncing in the park from afternoon till afterdark / a young boy alone in his own world, wheeling and dealing like “Earl the Pearl”/I hope someday that he finds a way to make his dream come true”. Enlightment: Point guard Vernon Earl Monroe nicknamed “Earl the Pearl” known for his flamboyant dribbling, passing and play making in the NBA. Was the band into his course or dreams? They sure must aspired him. Funny, that Monroe’s street dreams made him now own and operate his own record label, Reverse Spin Records. A very own lucky song charm. One of our own too, for years now. . “Your my last girl” is a squeezed out ballad promise with air in it’s summer hair whooshing around the breezy notes.
God I love, the history bits that make a whole bunch of tasteful opportunities The above funktastic trip is nine songs of ear lust. If you’re in for a catch of the 66:00” CD re issue via Castle Music Ltd. In 2007, get extra credit with 9 bonus tracks. Don’t ask me where that came from.
A little gossip on the go, you know how us women love that kind of fooling around! On playing their material to Beau Ray Fleming, they were invited to perform in a Bronx Basement to Larkin Arnold, who was the Vice President at the Arista imprint at time. They were reportedly, asked to perform the song “Disco Nights” several times at the management’s request. The group successfully enlisted to Arista’s roaster and then began recording an album of the same name with encouragement from the one and only Roberta Flack.
It’s time now for the transition. On to band GQ (after the group’s manager Tony Lopez suggestion for Good Quality to stand out) with a sign to Arista Records. After the GQ band hit the alternate name play offs, (first GQ album “Disco Nights”) they became quite successful representing disco influenced sounds and had highly ranked singles in multiple genre markets. Can’t miss as said above, “Disco Nights” (which reached #1 on RnB single chart for two weeks, #3 on Hot Dance Club Play and #12 on Billboard Hot 100).A million copies out in the US. If you’re interested on a reworked revision of “Soul on your side” check out the follow up remake (1979) to Billy Stewart’s (1967) “I do love you” which also reached success #20 on Billboard Hot 100 chart. After a second album as GQ which included the dancer hit “GQ down” Paul Service left. In the end the group became a trio. “Face to Face” followed in 1981 which included the hit “Shake”. A final single recording came up in 1984 “You are the one for me” for the independent Stadium Label. Finally they reunited to record the covers album (1999) “A tribute to Marvin Gaye and Billy Stewart” on the ITP imprint. Rahiem signed up later on with Capitol Records and recorded a solo album called “Always be around” released in 1991. You can find him on myspace as Mr.Q as in name tribute to GQ.
I think we picked out the greatest period for soulful splendorous music to blossom from the Rhythm Makers. With a total group career evaluating to 3 albums, 16 singles,2 compilations and a tribute album in their three phase journey. We are delighted on a thumbs up to a fantastic groovy band that accepts its limits and makes soul fantasies a tempo. Rumor says Mr.Q is on a 2012 project if you want to continue the history for yourselves