Classics: Rhyze – Rhyze To The Top (20th Century Fox)
The competition happened to be quite a tough game back in the late 70’s /early 80’s. With horn-driven groups such as Earth, Wind & Fire and Kool & The Gang fighting for supremacy. Not to mention Crown Heights Affair! This didn’t get Jersey City 8 piece band Rhyze away from releasing a couple of essential gems though. Beginning with ‘I Found Love In You’ and ‘Free’ which Louie Vega remixed back in 2014. But also ‘Just How Sweet Is Your Love’, the title track of their 1980 debut-album. With the aptly titled ‘Rhyze To The Top’ completing the list the year after.
‘Rhyze To The Top’ is just a one of a kind of gem. Therefore spreading an uplifting message with outstanding vocal arrangements along with infectious horn riffs. The whole over an irresistible bassline.
“Do your best, stand out to the test, just rhyze to the top”… Exactly as they sing, don’t you think???
The genesis of Rhyze brings us back to the 60’s at a period when its 8 members where students. Back then, they had formed a college band named Soul Unlimited when they met Paul L. Kyser who was a songwriter, an arranger and a record producer. The latter changed their name to Nu-Sound Express, LTD. He soon after signed them on his Silver Dollar Records label. There, they delivered two 7 inches by the likes of ‘One More Time, You All’ and ‘Ain’t It Good Enough’. Eventually playing in venues in an area comprising New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Surprisingly enough, they would remain silent for about 10 years. 1980 seeing their return on the release front with the same line-up and along with the same producer. Although under a new guise (Rhyze) and on a new label (SAM Records). The latter being the home of acts such as John Davis & The Monster Orchestra, Gary’s Gang and Mike & Brenda Sutton among other.
Their debut-album – ‘Just How Sweet Is Your Love’ – was quite a sensation. Showcasing a killer horn-driven band with infectious Soul/Funk gems such as its title cut, ‘I Found Love In You’ and ‘Free’ which Louie Vega eventually remixed back in 2014. Rhyze would get their biggest success the year after though. This with ‘Rhyze To The Top’, the title track of their second album on 20th Century Fox Records. But despite the presence of extra goodies such as ‘Having Fun’ and ‘Bizzaar’ somehow reminding of The (Detroit) Spinners‘ ‘I’ll Be Around’, the label failed to capitalize on their potential. This resulting in the disbanding of the group soon after.
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