Classics: Slave – Steppin Out (Extended Version) (Cotillion)
My, my, my… Close to 35 years have gone since the release of the killer ‘Steppin Out’ by the likes of Slave. And there are still things to discover whenever givin’ a listen to it. The Africans said bass is the heart of music. Well, I suppose this was exactly it when thinkin’ of Slave. With everything turning around bassist Mark Leslie Adams aka Mr. Mark Sir Hanselor‘s play.
The opening cut to their 1983 ‘Bad Enuff’ album, ‘Steppin Out’ is a monsterjam. The arrangements, courtesy of the latter, reveal a complex construction with each element fully takin’ its dimension and therefore makin’ sense. Such as the sax and trumpet parts respectively by the likes of Aubrey Rivers and Kenny Anderson. With Daniel Webster and Wayne Foote doin’ what it takes vocally speakin’. And Jimmy Douglass‘s production work standing as the icing on the cake.
‘Steppin Out…’ There we go, although not to be missed with Kool & The Gang‘s track of the likes…
– Slave saw the light in Dayton, OH back in 1975. From the reunion of two local groups (The Young Mystics and Black Satin Souls). They would start gettin’ some recognition 2 years later with ‘Slide’, from their eponymous album. Then with ‘Stellar Fungk’ from their follow-up – ‘The Concept’ – in 1978. The title cut from their 1979 ‘Just A Touch Of Love’ album would open an impressive of instantly identifiable gems, with Steve Arrington eventually takin’ the lead vocals. From ‘Feel My Love’ to ‘Watching You’, ‘Wait For Me’ and ‘Snapshot’. Not to mention ‘Steppin Out’, although Arrington had departed the year before to start a solo career.
Slave owes a lot to bassist Mark Leslie Adams‘s unique style. But also to producer Jimmy Douglass (also responsible for Odyssey‘s classic ‘Inside Out’). With the same applying to Starleana Young, Stephen C. Washington, Curt Jones and Tom Lockett who left the band to form Aurra back in 1981.
They progressively started losin’ the scope from 1984 and the release of their ‘New Plateau’ album which would be their last for Cotillion. With none of their following albums on Ichiban generating a sole one of a kind jam…
Bass player Mark Leslie Adams Sr. sadly died on Sat. Mar. 05, 2011 at age 51 in Columbus, OH. Meanwhile guitar player Mark ‘Drac’ Hicks soon after left too, aged 52 on Tue. June 14 the same year in Dayton, OH
– From Dayton, OH, Steve Arrington originally played drums with local band The Young Mystics. He relocated to San Francisco, CA after they broke up. Meanwhile the remaining members of the group combined with another Ohio band by the likes of Black Satin Soul. With this resulting in the birth of Slave in the mid-70’s, then the release of their debut-album – ‘The Hardness Of The World’ – back in 1977.
Arrington returned to the band back in 1978. Just in time to contribute to Slave‘s third album, ‘The Concept’. This as a backing singer, eventually co-writing a couple of cuts, beginning with the memorable ‘Stellar Fungk’. Then he took the lead, heavily contributing to the recognition of clasics such as ‘Just A Touch Of Love’, ‘Watching You’ and ‘Wait For Me’.
Politics within the group led to his departure back in 1983 and the formation of his new band by the likes of Steve Arrington’s Hall Of Fame. ‘1’, their debut-album, spanning the classics ‘Nobody Can Be You’ and ‘Weak At The Knees’. With ‘Hump To The Bump’ standing as the highlight from their follow-up (‘Positive Power’). Arrington reachin’ his peak soon after under his own name with the release of ‘Dancin’ In The Key Of Life’. An album that got him to score his biggest successes ever back in 1985. This with ‘Feel So Real’ and its title track.
Moderate success would follow from then with tracks such as ‘The Jammin’ National Anthem’ (the title cut of his third solo album). But also ‘Homeboy’ then ‘Stone Love’ from his 1987 ‘Jam Packed’ album which marked his debut on Manhattan Records.
He would eventually disappear from the radars before resurfacing with a new album – ‘Pure Thang’ – 22 years later. Lastly, he could be heard jammin’ along with Kool Moe Dee on the smooth ‘Are You Beautiful?’ by the beginning of 2018.
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