Classics: Convertion – Let’s Do It (SAM)
‘Let’s Do It…’ God and those who lived the period pretty much remember how everything was then possible. This, at a time – the late 70’s / early 80’s when an obscure underground gem could be turned into a classic. With renewed thanks to Larry Levan who was testing dubplates in front of his crowd at The Paradise Garage. But also to WBLS 107.5 flamboyant Frankie Crocker who would eventually air them the Monday after on the radio.
Double Exposure‘s ‘I Got The Hots For Ya’. But also Armenta & Majik‘s ‘I Wanna Be With You’ or First Choice‘s ‘Double Cross’… As many gems which Crocker turned into classics back then. Not to mention Convertion‘s uplitfing ‘Let’s Do It’ along with Leroy Burgess, Fred McFarlane and Greg Carmichael in charge respectively of the vocal parts, the keyboards and the production.
‘Let’s Do It…’ For sure, Convertion pretty much made it. Delivering this infectious midtempo bumper blending insane synths effects with a jazzy piano line over a funky bass driven rhythm part. Eventually resurfacing 35 years after, with a rework courtesy of Louie Vega after its mastertapes got sadly mislaid.
‘Let’s Do It…’ Just what it says!
– A singer, songwriter, keyboardist, arranger and producer, Leroy Burgess stands as a key figure in the NYC Disco scene. He started as a backing singer for Black Ivory at the age of 17 and would write most of the band’s hits, beginning with the seminal ‘Mainline’.
Burgess is also remembered for his countless collaborations with Patrick Adams. Be it as a member of Inner Life (along with Jocelyn Brown), The Universal Robot Band or Bumblebee Unlimited. But he also happened to work with producer Greg Carmichael under the Convertion guise. A transient act whom you might remember for ‘Let’s Do It’ which Frankie Crocker heavily championed back then on WBLS. With Louie Vega givin’ it a revamp back in 2015.
He joined Taharqa and Tunde Ra Aleem to form Aleem (later known as The Fantastic Aleems) in the mid-80’s. Together, they would drop gems such as ‘Get Loose, ‘Confusion’ and ‘Love’s On Fire’. They also produced the memorable ‘Over Like A Fat Rat’ for Fonda Rae.
Meanwhile, joining forces with artists of the current times was just like a natural progression for him. Collaborating with luminaries such as The Sunburst Band, Cool Million and Yam Who? But also Jonny Montana & Craig Stewart. With his latest delivery – ‘More Love’ – seeing him sharing the duties with NYC vet DJ/Producer Kenny Carpenter.
– Hailing from the Big Apple, Fred McFarlane wore countless hats. A R&B songwriter, a record producer and a multi-instrumentalist, his career spanned more than 30 years. He first made himself a name as a keyboardist, working with artists such as Fatback, Enchantment and Crown Heights Affair. But also as a member of Logg and Intrigue (along with Leroy Burgess). Not to mention Convertion (remember ‘Let’s Do It’ on SAM Records).
He got into production work in 1984, teaming up with Allen George. Both of them crafting classics such as ‘Somebody Else’s Guy’ for Jocelyn Brown. But also Jenny Burton‘s ‘Bad Habit’ and Robin Stone‘s ‘Show Me Love’ in addition to ‘Luv 4 Luv’. The luminaries the twosome worked with also including Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King, Alton ‘Wookie’ Stewart and Kym Mazelle.
By the beginning of the 2000’s, McFarlane partnered with Darryl James under the DFA guise. Both of them releasing an impressive amount of Dance remixes for R&B artists on Fall Out Records. From Patti LaBelle & Carlos Santana‘s ‘When U Smile’ to Floetry‘s ‘Say Yes’. Not to mention Muziq‘s ‘Half Crazy’ and Alicia Keys‘s ‘Diary’ among others.
Fred McFarlane sadly passed on Sept. 03, 2016, aged 56, with the cause not yet released.
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