We kick off volume fifteen of Funky Classix with Digital Visions’ re-edit of Howard Johnson’s #1 hit on the US Billboard Dance Chart, So Fine.
Released in 1982 on Californian based label A&M Records, which signed the likes of Quincy Jones, The Brothers Johnson and The Police on their label.
Howard Johnson was also the lead singer of American funk band Niteflyte.
Fonzi Thornton also featured on So Fine, who has worked musical legends Aretha Franklin, Chic and Luther Vandross.
So Fine would also reach #45 in the UK Singles Chart at the peak of the Jazz Funk era in 1982, and is still an anthem the various soul and disco festivals that happen every year up and down Great Britain.
Track number two is the DJ Vas Dub Edit of I’m In Love by Evelyn Champagne King.
The original was released in 1981 on American label RCA (which is now owned by Sony Music) and was a #1 hit on the Soul and Dance US Billboard Charts.
I’m In Love was also a top 30 hit for Evelyn King in the summer of 81, peaking at #27 in the UK Singles Chart.
The song was written and produced by Kashif, who also wrote and produced the first track in the mix So Fine.
Next up is Always There by Side Effect. Originally recorded in 1975 by American saxophonist Ronnie Law and William Jeffery, and featured on Laws’ debut album Pressure Sensitive.
In 1976 Always There would be re-recorded after producer Wayne Henderson of The Crusaders enlisted Paul B Allen III to create a vocal version of the track. Officially making Allen a co-writer, the song would be recorded by R&B group Side Effect, and would feature on their third album, What You Need.
Always would peak at #5 in the US Billboard Dance Chart
In 1991 Incognito would cover the song, and would feature Jocelyn Brown on vocals.
Incognito’s version would reached #5 in the UK Singles Chart and would get remixed by the Masters At Work and David Morales.
The remix feature on this instalment of Funky Classix comes from New York City Disco legend John Morales, and featured he his compilation The M+M Mixes Volume 3 that was released in 2013.
The track #4 in the mix is Funkin’ For Jamaica by Tom Browne.
Released in the summer of 1980 on Arista , Funkin’ For Jamaica would be a top ten hit for Tom Browne in the UK Singles Chart.
The single is a memoir of the neighbourhood in Queens, New York where Browne was born and raised, and he got the idea for the song while he was at his parents house.
The vocals on Funkin’ For Jamaica were provided by Toni Smith, who also helped compose the track, that featured on Browne’s second album Love Approach.
The mix featured on this volume of Funky Classix is yet another from remix master John Morales, and features on his latest compilation The M+M Mixes Volume IV (The Ultimate Collection) that was released in December 2017 on BBE.
Next in the mix the Faze Action edit of Fantasy by Johnny Hammond.
Born John Robert Smith, the American soul, jazz and hard bop organist, would become a renowned player of the Hammond B-3 organ, and would earn him “Hammond” as a nickname.
Fantasy would feature on Hammond’s 1975 Jazz Funk album Gears, which is now quite collectors item, with a mint condition copy of the album listed on Discogs with a price of nearly £500 pounds.
The final track on this instalment of Funky Classix is the Ballroom Remix of Womack & Womacks’ song Life’s Just A Ballgame
Released late in 1988 on 4th & Broadway, Life’s Just A Ballgame would be a top 40 hit for Womack & Womack peaking at #32.
The track would feature on their album Conscience released the same year, and would also included their biggest hit in the UK, Teardrops, which peaked at #3 in UK Singles Chart in the summer of 88.