Get Down Again with KC & the Sunshine Band

(conqueroo) KC & the Sunshine Band, who exploded from the Miami R&B scene into international disco and pop stardom with a string of chart-top hits like "Get Down Tonight" and "That's The Way (I Like It)," will find a new CD home for their first four albums at Collectors Choice Music.

On April 25, Collectors Choice will release the albums KC & the Sunshine Band, Sounds of Sunshine, Part 3 and Who Do Ya Love. The fully annotated volumes contain quotes from Harry Wayne "KC" Casey.

KC & the Sunshine Band were a racially integrated band led by Casey and Richard Finch. The two met at Miami's influential TK/Glades label, where both were employed in 1972, Casey serving as personal assistant and booking agent to Timmy Thomas ("Why Can't We Live Together"). Other label mates included Betty Wright, Benny Latimore and Clarence Reid (now known as Blowfly). Casey and Finch co-wrote "Rock Your Baby," a hit for George McCrae in 1974. All the while, they were recording as KC & the Sunshine Band, and beginning in 1975 they had an impressive run of U.S. hits, including "Get Down Tonight," "That's The Way (I Like It)", "(Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty," "I'm Your Boogie Man," Keep It Comin' Love," and "Boogie Shoes" (which was featured on the multi-platinum soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever). The group would receive nine Grammy nominations (three awards), four American Music Awards and sold millions of records on what was previously a regional indie R&B label.

As disco became increasingly reviled by both the musical cognoscenti and average rock & roll fans, and as attention turned to punk and New Wave, KC & the Sunshine Band's run came to an end; Casey would have one last hit as a solo act, "Give It Up," in 1983. But in the '90s, when all things '70s were in vogue once again, the band reformed and hit the road. Survivors of career ups and downs, they were even featured on VH1's "Behind the Music." Now of course the musical cognoscenti know better than to trash dance music, as does the marketer behind the infamous 1979 "Disco Demolition Night" at Chicago's Comiskey Park, where disco records were blown up: In 2001 the same marketing consultant held a Salute To Disco Night at a Florida Marlins game, where he publicly apologized to KC.

Collectors Choice Music will issue the band's first four TK albums. The self-titled KC & the Sunshine Band notched two #1 hits: "Get Down Tonight" and "That's The Way I Like It," as well as the hit "Boogie Shoes." Few remember that the second album, The Sounds of Sunshine, was actually a funky all-instrumental album in the grand tradition of Junior Walker & the All-Stars and Booker T. & the MG's. This was followed by Part 3, which contained the hits "(Shake Shake Shake) Shake Your Booty" and I'm Your Boogie Man." A fourth album, Who Do Ya Love, didn't achieve quite the commercial success of its predecessors (though Top 40 ain't bad), but is still an infectious, brilliantly arranged piece of work.

According to KC in his biography That's The Way I Like It: The Harry Wayne Casey Story, he saw the band as part of the "Miami Sound," which wed horns, whistles and vocal chants to a percussive all-out party vibe that leaned heavily, especially in the beginning, on the tradition of Bahamian "junkanoo" music, with its layered, intoxicating beats. "Then someone decided, because it was played in discotheques, to call it disco music. But I don't think our music ever was disco. It's always been on the edge of R&B."

As he does every summer, KC will headline amphitheaters this summer, 2006, with concert stops throughout the US and Canada. Information is available at http://www.kcsbonline.com

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