Tue. Oct. 19, 2021

The Fatback Band – Wicky-Wacky (Event Records Inc.)

This Beat Is Mine! (*) The Fatback Band – Wicky-Wacky (Event Records Inc.)

Wicky-Wacky… Yummie! Although not to be missed with the chocolate cake of the name, even though it’s as delicious… Here again, it’s just a matter of blend, which both cooking and making music are about at the end. And God knows how, judging by their repertoire (one of the richest to me when speakin’ of Black Music), The Fatback Band, whom we also know as Fatback, have varied the pleasures from an album to another.
From their 1974 ‘Keep On Steppin” of the likes, ‘Wicky-Wacky’ has something of Deep South Funk which they fried with accents of Blues. Also somehow sounding like an unlikely meeting between Fred Wesley and producer Norman Whitfield. With its infectiousness in the vein of Oneness Of Juju‘s ‘Everyway But Loose’ for instance.

A delish that appeals to everyone who loves moist, groovy and yummy jams. ‘Wicky-Wacky’ eventually reappeared back in 1989 via samples. Respectively on Circuit feat. Coffee‘s ‘Shelter’ and on Meat Beat Manifesto‘s ‘Re-Animator’ (Pt. 1).

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The brainchild of session drummer Bill Curtis, The Fatback Band (later simply known as Fatback) saw the light back in 1970 in the Big Apple. This with the aim to craft a new groove by merging New Orleans “fatback” Jazz beat with vivid West Indie and Caribbean rhythms. In other words, a new approach / sound / perspective that eventually served as the basis for the first Disco gems.

Strangely enough, Curtis‘s goal wasn’t to give birth to a group. But more of launching a production company. Then sign artists to record with his selection of musicians. I guess he made the right choice when deciding to do things by himself and come up with a banner that would serve as a home to his musicians.

Signing with Perception Records, it wasn’t long before they started makin’ themselves a name with some of the most infectious gems one may think of. Beginning with ‘Goin’ To See My Baby’, from their 1972 ‘Let’s Do It Again’ debut-album. As for ‘Njia Walk (Street Walk)’ – from their 1973 ‘People Music’ album – it reached the Top 30 on the US Billboard R&B chart. Although it failed to cross over to the Pop chart. Like almost everything they ever put out, as strange as this may seem.

Switching to Event Records inc. in 1974, they delivered another goodie by the likes of ‘Wicky-Wacky’. Then ‘Yum Yum (Gimme Some)’ the year after. But also ‘(Are You Ready) Do The Bus Stop’ and ‘Spanish Hustle’, from their ‘Raising Hell’ album. This before opening a long time relationship with Spring Records.

Shortening their name to Fatback in 1977, the group got their first Top 10 single with ‘I Like Girls’. Meanwhile ‘King Tim III (Personality)’ stands to many as the first Rap commercial release. Hitting the streets one week before Sugarhill Gang‘s ‘Rapper’s Delight’ as a matter of fact.

Fatback pretty much redefined themselves once again back in 1980. This with the memorable ‘Backstrokin” while eventually flirting with P-Funk. And most definitely spoiling the Funk music lovers with an impressive series of killer gems. From ‘Take It Anyway You Want’ to ‘I Found Lovin”. But also ‘Is This The Future?’ which, ironically, marked the end of their liaison with Spring Records.

Signing with Cotillion Records, they released two albums which failed to generate the same attention.

By 2004, Johnny King & The Fatback Band‘s ‘Peace, Love, Not War’ saw the light on Kenny Dope‘s Kay-Dee Records, with remix courtesy of the later. Meanwhile The Fatback Band shared the bill the year after with Bah Samba on ‘Let The Drums Speak’.

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