Sunday, August 31, 2014

"Glide" By Pleasure

In 1979, soul/funk band Pleasure scored a top ten hit with the bass-heavy, hard-hittin’ funk track “Glide.” The track features some excellent slap-and-pop bass work from Nathaniel Phillips and is a favorite among funk bassists, many of whom cut their teeth on this song. It also has a cool unison vocal arrangement as well as some funky chicken-scratch guitar licks and great synth vamps. The song is about maintaining a positive outlook during tough times and to just keep moving forward with your head up (just “glide on by”).

“Glide"was a single from Pleasure’s 1979 album Future Now. The song peaked at #10 on the R&B charts and rose to #55 on the pop charts. It was the band's highest charting single and what they’re most remembered for. However, the band has recorded a lot of other great music that unfortunately doesn’t get a lot of play these days. Their full oeuvre is definitely worth checking out. Pleasure’s sound encompassed jazz, soul, funk, rock and R&B, and they handled all these styles with flavor and finesse.

The lineup for Pleasure at the time they dropped “Glide” was the following: Nathaniel Phillips (bass, vocals); Bruce Carter (drums); Donald Hepburn (keyboards, vocals); Marlon “The Magician” McClain (guitar, backing vocals); Bruce Smith (percussion, backing vocals); Dennis Springer (tenor saxophone); Sherman Davis (lead vocals, backing vocals); Michael Hepburn (keyboards, vocals); and Tony Collins (trumpet, flugelhorn). Glide was penned by Phillips and Smith.

Pleasure was formed in Portland, Oregon in 1972 as a result of a merger between two local bands, Franchise (which included McClain, Phillips and Carter) and the Soul Masters (which included D. Hepburn, Smith, Springer and Davis). In 1974, the band got their big break when trombonist Wayne Henderson—co-founder of acclaimed jazz/funk band the Jazz Crusaders—caught one of their shows at a club in Portland. Henderson was impressed with the young band’s chops; this led to Pleasure signing a record deal with Fantasy Records. Henderson, who died earlier this year, served as both producer and mentor for the band and produced four of their seven albums.

In addition to their own albums, Pleasure did session work with artists such as Willie Bobo, Ronnie Laws, Gabor Szabo and Side Effect.

The band broke up in 1982 following the release of their final album Give It Up, which was released on RCA.

"Glide" at Amazon

Related blog entry: "Space Is The Place"

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