(4 / 5)
As the follow-up to the release of the Bar-Kays “Light Of Life” and “Injoy” albums both on one CD, here is a bumper four of their albums on two discs. “As One”, “Nightcruising”, “Propositions” and “Dangerous”.
All four albums first released in the early 80s. “Nightcruising” was the group’s third Gold-certified album. All four albums made the Top 10 in the US Billboard Soul & R&B Album chart.
“As One” featured the singles “Boogie Body Land”, which was a Top 10 R&B single, and the cut, “Body Fever”. “Nightcruising” included the single “Hit And Run”, a Top five R&B single. “Propositions” gave us “Do It (Let Me See You Shake)”, another Top 10 R&B single and “She Talks To Me With Her Body’”, plus the classic Bar- Kays ballad “Anticipation”.
“Dangerous” featured “Freakshow On The Dance Floor”, a number two R&B single, from the movie “Breakin’ “, starring Adolfo Quinones. The Disco classic “Dirty Dancer” and perhaps the most well-known Bar-Kays dance track, “Sexomatic”, which also charted in the U.K.
Other popular tracks are “Traffic Jammers”, “Deliver Us”, “Do It (Let Me See Your Body Shake)” and “Busted”. The double CD, 32-track offering includes extensive sleeve notes by music writer Charles Waring. All four albums contain eight tracks on each.
The Bar-Kays formed in 1966. The group had dozens of charting singles from the 1960s to the 1980s, including “Soul Finger” (US Billboard Hot 100 number 17, R&B number 3) in 1967, “Son of Shaft” (R&B number 10) in 1972, and “Boogie Body Land” (R&B number 7) in 1980; the latter track opens CD one here.
Of many previous members of the group across their 52-year career, six are now deceased, including Marcus Price who was murdered after leaving a band rehearsal in Memphis in 1984. The crime has never been solved. Current members are James Alexander, Larry Dodson and Willie Hall.
In 1967, the studio band The Bar-Kays were chosen by Otis Redding to play as his backing band; tutored for that role by Al Jackson, Jr., Booker T. Jones, and the other members of Booker T. & the M.G.’s. On December 10th, 1967, Redding and four members of the band – Jimmy King, Ronnie Caldwell, Phalon Jones and Carl Cunningham died, when their ‘plane crashed into Lake Monona, near Madison, Wisconsin.
Bassist James Alexander, a current member, was on another plane. Sole survivor of the air crash, trumpeter Ben Cauley (who died in 2015) and James Alexander rebuilt the group. Current members Larry Dodson and Willie Hall, were among the rebuilt Bar-Kays line-up.
The classic 1979 smash hit Sugarhill Gang single, “Rapper’s Delight”, contains multiple references to the Bar-Kays. They released 20 albums between 1967 and 2012, and at least 32 singles, between 1967 and 1995.
The Bar-Kays music has been used on many movie soundtracks. This four album set on two CDs, is a a very, very welcome release indeed and a reminder, if one were needed, of just how soulful, funky and fantastic, The Bar-Kays were.
By Christopher Weston
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’