Lost but not least! Gene Dunlap – Party In Me (Capitol)
I guess I’ll never thank enough those who, back in the day, heavily suggested me to check the credits on the album artworks or on the labels. This being how I managed to see Gene Dunlap‘s name for the first time in the early eighties. As a matter of fact I’d first stumbled upon Earl Klugh’s ‘Twinkle’ which got me to check the album it’s taken from. With the rest being history.
From then, I remember givin’ a careful listen to Gene Dunlap‘s ‘Party In Me’. Beginning from its opening track. In other words, ‘Party In Me’. But also the firing ‘Take Me Love’ and ‘Jam City’. Thus thinkin’ they made of the album a quick worth the investment effort as a matter of fact.
As for ‘Party In Me’ (the single), I couldn’t help thinkin’ of both One Way who also hail from Detroit, MI. As to the late Alphonse Mouzon to a certain (other) extend. With bigs ups to Miche Braden on vocals who, sadly, happened to have a brief career despite an undeniable potential. As to Kathy Kosins, responsible for the writing of the lyrics. The whole over a rumblin’ bassline courtesy of Anthony Jackson.
Besides, I never understood though why ‘Party In Me’ never got given an extended version. No more than why Capitol didn’t manage to give it a 12″ release other than promotional. And then as the flipside of ‘Take My Love’.
A native of Detroit, MI, Gene Dunlap started playing drums at an early age, although his first job was in a music store. While still at school he eventually met Earl Klugh with whom he formed a group. He also managed to pretty much strengthen his reputation, co-writing the stellar ‘Empanada’ with Mario E. Sprouse for Grant Green back in 1978. But also collaborating with Roy Ayers on the memorable ‘Don’t Stop The Feeling’ the year after.
Earl Klugh also helped Dunlap to secure a record deal with Capitol. There, he released two albums the same year (in 1981). The first – It’s Just The Way I Feel’ – featuring The Ridgeways. And the second – ‘Party In Me’ – on his own. Itself spawning gems such as its title cut, but also ‘Take My Love’ and ‘Jam City’. Then he would release a third album some 23 years after by the likes of ‘Peaceful Days’ on 215 Records. But the list would be incomplete without mentioning his activities under The Gene Dunlap Band banner along with late keyboard player Mickie Roquemore.
Together they released one album on Capitol by the likes of ‘Tired Of Being A Nice Guy’ back in 1983. But despite including a couple of firing jams (‘She Had No Place To Go’), no single ever saw the light from it.
Signing on the Avenue Jazz label, they released two extra albums. This by the likes of ‘Groove With You’ and ‘Tales Of The Phatman” in 1994 and six years later.
Mickie Roquemore, 58, was found dead in the early hours of Jan. 01, 2015, on the porch of the HOPE Hospitality and Warming Center in Pontiac, MI, where he often happened to sleep. He is believed to have frozen to death in the 15 degree overnight temperature. Homeless and suffering from schizophrenia, he was reliant on alcohol.