Monday, March 23, 2015

"You And I" By Rick James

“You And I” by Rick James is the ultimate party jam. The track is crackling with energy, attitude and FUNK. And 37 years after its original release, it still gets me hyped and in a party mood whenever I hear it. It’s a stone-cold club banger. The dynamic, high-octane groove kicks you right in the sacroiliac. And the horns are on fire. This track makes me miss the days when many popular music acts had real horn players in their bands.

The explosive groove also boasts an irresistible, booty-shakin’ bass line, funky clavinet and wicked guitar licks; and axman Tom McDermott serves up a smooth, jazzy guitar solo. And James brings his patented brash charm to his soulful vocal performance. Also, the female background singers help sweeten the groove. This is one of those tracks that sounds best turned all the way up—be it in your ride, the club or in your living room.

“You And I” was written and arranged by James. It was the first single from his double platinum debut album Come Get It! (1978). The song spent two weeks atop the U.S. R&B singles chart and peaked at #13 on the pop charts; and it climbed to #3 on the U.S. dance chart. The album’s second single “Mary Jane,” also performed well on the charts, reaching #3 on the U.S. R&B singles chart and #41 on the pop singles chart. The collection, which was released on Motown sub-label Gordy Records, made it to #3 on the U.S. R&B albums chart and #13 on the pop albums chart.

All the songs on Come Get It! were written and composed by James, and he co-produced the album with Motown producer and engineer Art Stewart. The original lineup for James’ band—The Stone City Band—included the following players: Daniel LeMelle (tenor and alto sax, horn arrangements); Tom McDermott (lead guitar); Levi Ruffin, Jr. (keyboard, vocals) Lanise Hughes (drums); Oscar Alston (bass); Erskine Williams (keyboards) and Kenny Hawkins (guitars). And in addition to vocals, James contributed guitars, keyboards, synthesizers and bass for Come Get It!

The album successfully launched James’ solo career, and it firmly put him on the map in the popular music scene. He went on to drop several more funk and R&B hits, including the crossover smash “Super Freak.” James also distinguished himself onstage; he was a charismatic and exciting live performer, who eventually became one of the biggest names in the funk game. The late musician/performer was probably known just as much for his bad-boy persona as his music.

You And I at Amazon

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