Dayton, Ohio-based funk band Slave achieved success right out of the gate when their self-titled 1977 album shot to No. 6 R&B and No. 22 Pop, earning a Gold certification from the RIAA. Slave was off and running, producing eight consecutive chart albums for Atlantic Records' Cotillion imprint through 1983. (A ninth, in 1984, would do less well and precipitate a change of labels.) Slave weathered changes in the musical landscape, spinning off more than a dozen hit singles in that period. The band's incendiary sixth album, Show Time, proved to be the last with lead singer/drummer Steve Arrington (who was first heard on 1978's The Concept). The top ten R&B album also notched the group's second-highest placement on the pop chart. Now, it's returning to CD in its first standalone edition. An expanded edition arrives on December 2 from Iconoclassic Records - the same date the label reissues and expands Arrington's 1985 solo debut Dancin' in the Key of Life which yielded hit singles on both sides of the Atlantic.
The nine-strong Slave - joined for Show Time by a string section - made a big noise on the LP. The group's hard-hitting yet slick and accessible style continued to thrive on this set of eight funk stompers. Lead single "Snap Shot," penned by Arrington, bassist-keyboardist Mark Adams, flautist-saxophonist Charles Cedell Carter, trumpeter-trombonist Floyd Miller, and album producer Jimmy Douglass, turned out to be Slave's final top ten R&B single and their last to crack the Hot 100. It was followed up by "Wait for Me," which became their last top twenty R&B single hit. Both songs, as well as "Party Lites," also reached the Dance chart. With Arrington's departure, Slave would rarely hit the artistic heights of Show Time again.
Iconoclassic's expanded edition is the debut of Show Time as a standalone CD release; it formerly was reissued as one-half of a bare-bones reissue on the Collectables label. It features two bonus tracks: the seven-inch single edit of "Wait for Me" and the extended 12-inch version of "Snap Shot." Everything has been newly remastered by Vic Anesini at Battery Studios. A 16-page booklet completes this definitive reissue; it features a new, 3,600-word essay by A. Scott Galloway drawing on interviews with key personnel including Floyd Miller, Steve Arrington, Charles Cedell Carter, keyboardist-percussionist Sam Carter, and string arranger-conductor Cengiz Yaltkaya.
In 1985, Slave began a run of albums on the Ichiban label which lasted through 1995's Masters of the Fungk. By the time the group disbanded, they'd left behind one of the sturdiest discographies in all of the funk genre. Steve Arrington, meanwhile, has continued to carry the torch with his solo releases. He stepped out of the shadow of both Slave and his subsequent Steve Arrington's Hall of Fame in a big way on Dancin' in the Key of Life.
Following in the footsteps of such influences as George Harrison, John Coltrane, and Carlos Santana, Steve Arrington emphasized his spiritual side on his Atlantic Records solo debut. Produced by Keg Johnson and Wilmer Raglin, Dancin' was a major shift from the Slave sound but a pure expression of Arrington's musical innovation and originality. The LP signified a move from Slave's straight-ahead funk to a sleek, irresistible embrace of the hi-NRG dance genre. Guests include jazz legend Freddie Hubbard on trumpet and George Johnson (of The Brothers Johnson) on guitar and electric bass. Arrington's bold stylistic change paid off when "Feel So Real" (featuring Hubbard's solo) soared to the U.K. top ten and the title track "Dancin' in the Key of Life" went to the top ten of the U.S. R&B chart. Since Dancin', Arrington has continued to pursue his muse in powerful fashion.
Iconoclassic's new reissue is the worldwide CD debut of Dancin' in the Key of Life. A. Scott Galloway has again penned a comprehensive essay drawing on new insights from Steve Arrington, and the album has been remastered from the original tapes. Five bonus remixes have been appended including two versions of "Feel So Real" and three of "Dancin' in the Key of Life."
It's Show Time on December 2 for both of these essential titles. You'll find pre-order links and the track listing below.
- Snap Shot
- Party Lites
- Spice of Life (Oh Yes, You're the Best)
- Wait for Me
- Steal Your Heart
- For the Love of U
- Funken Town
- Wait for Me (7-Inch Single Version) (Cotillion single 46128, 1981)
- Snap Shot (12-Inch Single Version) (Cotillion 12-inch promotional single DMD-289, 1981)
- Feel So Real
- Dancin' in the Key of Life
- She Just Don't Know
- Willie Mae
- Stand with Me
- Brown Baby Boy
- Turn Up the Love
- Feel So Real (Vocal/Extended Version) (Atlantic 12-inch promotional single DMD-816, 1985)
- Feel So Real (Instrumental/Extended Version) (Atlantic 12-inch promotional single DMD-816, 1985)
- Dancin' in the Key of Life (Vocal/Special Remix) (Atlantic 12-inch promotional single DMD-855, 1985)
- Dancin' in the Key of Life (Special Remix by Timmy Regisford and Boyd Jarvis) (from Dance Traxx - Atlantic 81638-1-E, 1986 - and Atlantic 12-inch promotional single DMD 950, 1986)
- Dancin' in the Key of Life The Megamix (Atlantic U.K. 12-inch single 786 864-0, 1985)