Lost but not least! Lanier and Co – I Don’t Know (What To Do About You) (Waylo/Syncopate)
Sometimes, words happen to be missing when trying to recapture the feeling while listening to a piece of music. And you just end up like “I don’t know what to do about you” when thinkin’ of it… 30 years may have gone since its release by the time writing these lines, and I keep on sort of feeling the same. The voice of the lead singer (Farris Lanier, Jr.), the backing vocal arrangements. But also its lyrical content. Not to mention its 5 star production… Here we have nothing but a rare masterpiece speakin’ of which time doesn’t seem to have any effect. Apart from finding it better one listen after another…
The production most definitely comes along with the whole, like enhancing the overall feeling. Standing at the crossroad between the grooviest side of Quiet Storm and Boogie while blending Soul, Jazz and Funk elements. But also carribean vibes with the inclusion of steelpans vibes on its intro. And also classical violin, bringin’ like extra shuffles to the vocal rendition. As if meant to expand the undeniable conviction of its theme. Makin’ of ‘I Don’t Know (What To Do About You)’ an incredibly touchin’ love song. In the caliber of gems such as Stanley Clarke & Howard Hewett‘s ‘Heaven Sent You’ and other Loose Ends‘ ‘Hanging On A String’. With production and mixing work courtesy of Glenn Skinner…
It all started in Jackson, TN with Farris Lanier, Sr. putting the group together in the late 60’s. Meanwhile gathering family members Farris, Jr. (vocals), Fenoye (drums) and Marion (saxophone) along with Joseph McKinney (keyboards), Mark Brown (trumpet), Milton Price (bass) and Lee Freeman (guitar). The 8-piece band first appeared back in 1968 as The Jacksonians along with Fred Towles on ‘Hook It To The Mule’. Another 5 years on and the would take the centerstage with ‘Calfornia Dreamin” on MGM Records. Then ‘Laugh (Tickle Your Belly Bottom)’ 3 years later on Pawn Records.
They turned their name into Lanier and Co in the early 80’s, releasing their eponymous debut-album on LARC records in 1983. Stephanie Beard, Marvin Hill, Van Beard and Arvan Wiley eventually joinin’ them prior to the release of its follow-up – ‘Dancing In The Night’ – 4 years after on Waylo. An album that would feature the infectious ‘I Don’t Know What To Do About You’. A cut which Syncopate eventually licensed in the U.K.
Lanier and Co sadly never really managed to break. They stopped trooping in 1991 when Farris became ill and couldn’t tour anymore which caused the group to finally disband.