Week 45: Bumpin’
Week 45 has come and almost gone already…so it’s about time to bring out the good music!
And being busy with the ongoing 4BB/Damn! remix Competition, you should all be real happy that we have Paros within our circle of friends – otherwise we’d probably just do another re-run of some old treasured album from the old blog…instead Paros steps up and helps us keeping things fresh! Well, maybe not fresh (this week’s album is like 35 years old), but at least interesting…OK, maybe even intriguing!
Because this week is all about the Hot City Bump Band, and their only and super-rare album “Come Together” from 1974. Maybe the most intriguing part is that the band is from Australia. Aussie-funk? Yep…there is such a thing! Any good? Hell yeah! It’s actually good enough to be featured on BBE’s newly released “Strange Breaks & Mr Thing II” compilation/mix (really good one – check it out!), showcasing the awesome B-side cut “It’s Just begun”, Hot City Bump Band’s take on the Jimmy Castor Bunch’s original.
And it sure is rare enough as well – I had never even heard about the group until Paros brought it and its greatness to my attention.
Not only did Paros save my stressed-out ass with this contribution, he also found the perfect write-up for the post…on Milesago.com – which is all about “Australasian popular music, pop culture and social history 1964-1975″….great website full of interesting and unknown stories!
For some thorough background info, check this out:
The Hot City Bump Band was formed around the vocal duo of Chicago-born Chuck McKinney and his wife Margaret (Maggie). Chuck originally came to Australia to work in the original Australian production of the stage musical Hair ca. 1970 and he met Sydney-born Maggie during the run of the show. When the production finally closed at the end of 1973, the McKinneys formed the Hot City Bump Band with four local musicians, including drummer Mick Holden (ex-The Mixtures) plus West Indian percussionist Robert Ellis.
Hot City Bump Band was one of Australia’s first soul-funk bands, and they were one of only a handful of groups (Skylight, Stylus, Johnny Rocco Band) who performed in this style. As Ian McFarlane notes, local audiences who had been brought up “on a steady diet of rock, boogie and pop” took some time to get used to it. Although a number of local acts (Max Merritt, The Groove, The Groop) had championed soul and R&B music during the ’60s, new black American music trends such as “The Philly Sound” – spearheaded by producers Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff and typified by groups such as The O’Jays – came and went without gaining any significant Australian radio exposure. This was a direct result of the restrictive (and frankly racist) programming regimes on commercial radio, typified by Rod Muir’s Digamae consultancy, which gained a stranglehold over Australian pop radio in the early seventies. So, these new developments in black dance music and groundbreaking acts like Parliement-Funkadelic remained largely unheard in Australia until the arrival of Double Jay in Jan. 1975 and the eventual breakthrough of disco in 1976-77.
Guitarist-turned-producer Robie Porter was one of the few local label owners who was willing to take a punt on new soul-funk style. He had recently signed another former Hair cast member, Marcia Hines – and he signed Hot City Bump Band signed to his Wizard label. They released two singles during 1974 – the first was a cover of The Beatles’ “Come Together”, followed by “Time Is On Your Side”.
In mid-1975 the band issued its highly-regarded debut album, “Come Together”, which was produced by the great Ernie Rose. It included an impressive cover of the Jimmy Castor Bunch’s “It’s Just Begun”. The album was accompanied by their third single, “Do What You Wanna Do”, which sold strongly and peaked at #13 in Melbourne during August 1975. It charted for sixteen weeks and was subsequently included on the 1975 K-Tel hits compilation Outa Sight. They also made an appearance on Countdown on 31 August 1975, performing their hit. By then, Noel Davies had replaced original guitarist John Adolphus. It was sometime during this period that they relocated to Sydney.
They were by now recognised as one of the best live acts in the country and this led to several prestigious support gigs during 1975, including Osibisa, Gladys Knight & The Pips and The Temptations. Sadly, the group didn’t continue long after that, announcing their break-up and issuing a final single, “Ain’t No Use” in January 1976…
Read the full story right here!
Now, listen to this Hot City Bump Band version of The Temptations classic “Cloud Nine”: (Video clip “borrowed” from MrHotpantsImComin)
I got two more favourite tracks on the “Come Together” LP – the previously mentioned “It’s Just begun”, and the sweet laidback “Ain’t Nobody”!
Never re-issued on CD…I can’t even find the original LP for sale anywhere right now! Last time it was up for sale was in June earlier this year, when someone got lucky for a mere $120 (AUD) – check here!
So remember to thank Paros – leave a comment, why don’t ya’!
I’ll thank Paros once again right now, for expanding our funk horizons, but first and foremost; Chuck, Maggie and the rest of the Hot City Bump Band gang – thank you for the music!