Tuesday, 7 April 2009

1983 KC & The Sunshine Band: Give It Up

Harry Wayne Casey (KC) and his Sunshine Band had enjoyed a consistent run of hits throughout the seventies with a series of songs that will forevermore be shoe-ins for any 'Best Of Disco' album; 'Queen Of Clubs', 'That's The Way (I Like It)' and 'Please Don't Go' all came to help define a look, an attitude and an era now gone. Like many successful acts of the seventies, the eighties presented a new landscape where their particular brand of music was no longer needed or (in some cases) even welcome anymore and 'Give It Up' would be the last time the band would chart in the UK.

All things being equal, 'Give It Up' should be a song out of time, as out of place at your standard nightclub as a Party Seven and a kipper tie. Certainly, the bare bones of the track are rooted firmly in their past and stylistically at least present no great leap forward from the disco funk they'd offered up previously. But by including a live brass rhythm section instead of your typically flanging disco synthesiser to punctuate the groove, 'Give It Up' is carried along on a bold, salsa-cum-jazz wave that will forever be daisy fresh and would not sound anachronistic in today's charts. Even less so at the height of summer, which is precisely when this was released.

Those horns play their part in the song's structure too in counterpointing the infectious 'Na na na na na na's' of the backing singers which in turn preface the tension busting chorus that, once heard, puts the listener on guard for it again and again in exactly the same way as the modern 'clubber' pauses for DJ Clueless to drop a beat. This effect though is all the sweeter when it's emphasised by a genuinely soulful voice singing a good few octaves lower than the music, and I wonder how many romances have flourished from a mouthed 'Give it up, baby give it up' to a stranger on the dancefloor?

'Give It Up' has everything in it's right place. It's as carefully crafted a dance track as you can imagine but with none of the cold cynicism to make it feel constructed rather than organic. It's the sound of good times in a hot summer and it can either bring back memories of the same or create a longing for a summer to come. Either way, it's music as Prozac and copies should be given away free on the NHS.

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