The Funk Is On The Scene, Ready To Bust Your Record Machine
Slave’s Show Time and Steve Arrington’s Dancin’ in the Key of Life definitive edition CD remasters are OUT NOW!
“Got that Dayton Funk, that Dayton Funk is true,” rapped funk innovator Steve Arrington on “I Be Goin’ Hard,” his 2013 collaboration with next gen fungkateer DāM-FunK. No truer words were ever spoken.
For those not in the know, Dayton, Ohio is ground zero for such essential funk acts as the Ohio Players, Zapp and Roger, Lakeside, and Slave.
Slave itself was the launchpad for a universe of acts, not unlike George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic axis, including Aurra, Déjà, and Steve Arrington’s Hall of Fame.
Today, we celebrate two key chapters in Dayton Funk history that have been shamefully underrepresented in the CD era…until now: Slave’s 1981 banger Show Time and Steve Arrington’s uplifting 1985 solo debut Dancin’ in the Key of Life.
Show Time was drummer/singer Steve Arrington’s final album with Slave, but what a way to go! Slave most definitely delivers "the upper persuasion for the lower invasion" on this mind-funk masterpiece. Show Time includes the Top 10 hit “Snap Shot” (from which the preceding lyrical quote is drawn) and Top 20 “Wait for Me” as well as shoulda been follow-up hits “Steal Your Heart” and “Party Lites.” Despite its status as a Top 10 R&B album and Slave’s second highest charting record on the pop side, Show Time has only previously appeared on CD as half of a long out-of-print 'cheapie' two-fer.
Iconoclassic Records' Expanded Edition finally shows this funk tour de force the love it deserves. A. Scott Galloway contributes a 3600-word liner note essay, delving deep into the history with exclusive new interview material from band members Floyd Miller, Steve Arrington, Charles Cedell Carter, Sam Carter and arranger/conductor Cengiz Yaltkaya. That’s housed in a beautifully designed 16-page booklet. Vic Anesini delivers a definitive remaster of Jimmy Douglass' original production, adding two bonus tracks including the unmissable and rare 12″ version of “Snap Shot.”
Slave further splintered after the release of Show Time. Steve Arrington, along with Sam and Charles Cedell Carter from the Show Time band lineup, then released two rock-solid albums as Steve Arrington’s Hall of Fame.
Arrington’s next move would be divinely guided. As he explains, “My spiritual pursuits have always been part of my life. As time moved on, they came more and more to the forefront. I felt them and just went with them. Many people have been influential to me – John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, George Harrison, Carlos Santana – in terms of being secular musicians who allowed their spirituality to flourish in a way that their music had to reflect. So that’s what I decided to do. It wasn’t calculated. It was just time. And I didn’t allow what I had done previously nor a hit record to stop that pursuit.”
Steve Arrington placed his spirituality front and center on his first solo album, 1985’s Dancin’ in the Key of Life, a career peak production featuring two hit singles in the title track (Top 10 U.S. R&B) and “Feel So Real” (Top 10 UK). Shifting from the bottom-heavy funk of Slave and Steve Arrington’s Hall of Fame to embrace dance music, Dancin’ in the Key of Life is a joyful Holy Ghost party. Arrington additionally stretches with songs that speak poignantly to sadder realities via a soul-stirring approach to storytelling.
The album’s influence on future artists is indisputable. Chicago House Music royalty Roy Davis Jr. believes “Feel So Real” and “Dancin’ in the Key of Life” are the original bridges between Disco and House.
For its first-ever official CD release anywhere in the world, Dancin’ in the Key of Life has been expanded with 5 bonus tracks, including an instrumental of “Feel So Real” that spotlights the trumpet work of guest Freddie Hubbard and a 10-minute megamix. The bonus tracks nearly double the length of the album and are all first-time-on-CD. Donald Cleveland has remastered from the original master tapes and A. Scott Galloway once again contributes liner notes with exclusive commentary from Steve Arrington. It’s taken 37 years to get Dancin’ in the Key of Life on CD, but we think you’ll agree that our reissue is one-and-done definitive.
Turn on those party lites tonight. Slave’s Show Time and Steve Arrington’s Dancin’ in the Key of Life are OUT NOW.