Tue. Sep. 28, 2021

Fat Larry’s Band – Act Like You Know (WMOT)

Classics: Fat Larry’s Band – Act Like You Know (WMOT)

This could pretty well be the most famous jam ever released on Philadelphia-based label WMOT Records at the end. With the main reason being that so many people sampled it, beginning with De La Soul back in 1991 on the memorable ‘Ring, Ring, Ring’.

Weird though as to how, despite its similarities with The Whatnauts‘Help Is On The Way’, no credit has been given to them. I’d tend to see ‘Act Like You Know’ as an interpolation of the latter. Borrowing the same groove, it received a brilliant reorchestration around a fatter bassline with infectious horn parts. Meanwhile Freddie Campbell (Fatback) and Terry Price definitely rocked vocally speaking.

“Act Like You Know, this is your way to shine…”. Something FLB pretty much still does, more than 35 years after the release of this joint which has influenced so many artists. From De La Soul (‘Ring, Ring, Ring’) to Deni Hines (‘It’s Alright’ as remixed by D-Influence). Not to mention Beverley Knight (‘Greatest Day’).

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– Singer, drummer, producer Larry James gave birth to Fat Larry’s Band back in the mid-70’s in Philadelphia, PA. Consisting of Larry La Bes (bass), Douglas Jones (sax), Alfonso Smith (percussion), Ted Cohen (guitar) along with Freddie Campbell and Terry Price (vocals), they released most of their albums on WMOT/Fantasy Records.

They came to wider recognition back in 1979 with the Disco funky ‘Lookin’ For Love Tonight’. They scored their biggest successes 3 years after, with ‘Zoom’ and ‘Act Like You Know’, both taken from their ‘Breakin’ Out’ album.
FLB also made some impact on the Hip-Hop scene with N.W.A., Jungle Brothers and Run-D.M.C. among others sampling ‘Down On The Avenue’, from their 1976 ‘Feel It’ album. Not to mention De La Soul who built the classic ‘Ring Ring Ring’ on the bassline of ‘Act Like You Know’.

Two extra albums saw the light after their departure from WMOT, respectively on Virgin then Omni Records. But the group failed to maintain the attention. They eventually disbanded, following the sudden passing of Larry James from a heart attack on Dec. 05, 1987 at the age of 38.

– Baltimore, MD-based Carlos Herndon, Garnett Jones and Gerard Pinkney gave birth to The Whatnauts back in 1969. They released their debut-single – the socially conscious ‘Message From A Black Man’ – the year after on A&I International. Then, they signed a record deal with Stang Records where they released 3 albums, from 1970 to 1972. Their biggest classics from then are ‘Please Make The Love Go Away’ and ‘I’ll Erase Away Your Pain’ in 1971. And last but not least, the memorable ‘Girls’ credited to Moments & Whatnauts.

They might be best remembered by the younger generations for the 1981 released ‘Help Is On The Way’ with mixing work courtesy of Tee Scott. A cut given an interpolation the year after by Fat Larry’s Band on ‘Act Like You Know’. But also sampled by De La Soul on the memorable ‘Ring, Ring, Ring (Ha Ha Hey) in 1991. Not to mention Deni Hines on ‘It’s Alright’ 4 years after. Then Beverley Knight on ‘Greatest Day’ back in 1998.

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