Thursday, August 4, 2011
They Just Don't Make'Em Like This Anymore
The first time I heard "Dance Girl" was on a CD mix of obscure soul and R&B put together by my friend and fellow Cool Jerk bandmate, Steve Feldman. I was dumbstruck.
First, it was the groove. Really greasey. Then, those brilliant background vocals.
"Shabba sha da, bop ba ba ba ba."
And those lyrics!
"Some people like to cheat and play/others like to lay all day,
Well, I'm the type, on my feet (?)/with my big-legged girl, with my big-legged girl.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah."
It's really the "Stardust" of disco-funk.
At the time, I thought The Rimshots had to be some one-hit (?) wonders, but Steve Huey over at All Music says otherwise:
The Rimshots were the house band at Joe and Sylvia Robinson's All Platinum/Stang label family during the '70s, and also released their own records, mostly on the latter imprint. Led by guitarists and sometime composers and producers Walter Morris and Tommy Keith, their ranks also included drummer Clarence Oliver, bassist Jonathan Williams, and keyboardist Bernadette Randle. Their highest-profile backup appearances were with label flagship artists the Moments, whose Harry Ray and Al Goodman sometimes penned material for them. The Rimshots began releasing their own singles in 1972, when their brand of funk was harder than the disco-flavored sound they would later adopt. Early songs like "Soul Train, Pts. 1 & 2" and "Save That Thing" would go on to become rare collector's items, as would their 1972 debut LP Soul Train. Over the next couple of years, the Rimshots continued to release high-quality, non-LP singles -- "Dance Girl," "Harvey Wallbanger," "Who's Got the Monster" -- that cemented their future standing as a reliable source for hip-hop samples. By 1975, singles like "Do What You Feel, Pt. 1" and "(7-6-5-4-3-2-1) Blow Your Whistle" were beginning to move the Rimshots into smoother disco territory, and 1976's "Super Disco" and "We've Got You Singing" solidified the transition. 1976 also saw the release of the Rimshots' second album, Down to Earth, and the group contributed two tracks to the lesser-known blaxploitation soundtrack Patty. In addition to their work as the Stang house band, the Rimshots backed Etta James on her funky blues outing Etta Is Betta Than Evah. The 2000 Sequel compilation 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 (Blow Your Whistle) reissued both Soul Train and Down to Earth, plus additional non-album material.
I hope you get the same pleasure out of "Dance Girl" as I do.