Every Tuesday, the Analog Kid blog goes back in time and features some of the best groovy R&B/soul songs from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. Sometimes you’ll hear songs from individual artists or from a specific year, and other times you’ll get an entire full-length classic LP ripped directly from the Analog Kid’s vast vinyl vault. Warning: by R&B/soul, I also mean disco. I could go all Silver Convention on your ass at any given moment, so just be ready!
I’m going to bet that most of my readers have never heard Electrified Funk, the 1977 follow-up to Wild Cherry’s hugely successful debut album. I’d also lay money that the only track you’ve heard off that first LP is “Play That Funky Music,” a song that spent three weeks at #1 in September of 1976. A few years back, my wife bought me a DVD box set featuring some of the best performances from The Midnight Special, the classic late-night music show from the ’70s. Would you believe that Wild Cherry turned in one of the best performances on the whole set? They did indeed “play it right,” even if most of America was shocked to find out that the band consisted of five white guys from Ohio.
To no one’s surprise, Wild Cherry spent the majority of Electrified Funk attempting to recreate the magic of “Play That Funky Music.” “Baby Don’t You Know” (the opening cut and first single) was a virtual rewrite of the barely-a-year-old smash, and even managed to one-up the funky music-playing white boys with the boast, ‘The honkys got soul.” And for the most part, it was true.
“Baby Don’t You Know” peaked at #43 on the Billboard Hot 100, and Wild Cherry never again sniffed the Top 40. The band will go down in history as one of the ultimate one-hit wonders, but Wild Cherry actually did manage to play that funky music with wit, precision, and– dare I say it– soul.
Wild Cherry: Electrified Funk
Epic Records, 1977
Vinyl rip courtesy of The Analog Kid
1. “Baby Don’t You Know” (Robert Parissi)
2. “Are You Boogieing Around On Your Daddy” (Robert Parissi)
3. “Dancin’ Music Band” (Rober Parissi)
4. “Put Yourself In My Shoes” (Robet Parissi)
5. “Closest Thing To My Mind” (Robert Parissi)
6. “Electrified Funk” (Robert Parissi)
7. “Hole In The Wall” (Robert Parissi)
8. “Hot To Trot” (Robert Parissi)
9. “Hold On (With Strings)” (Robert Parissi)
10. “It’s All Up To You” (Alvin Fields/Michael Zager)
The first rule of The Analog Kid blog is that if you write about a song on the Analog Kid blog, you share the song on the Analog Kid blog.
Wild Cherry: “Play That Funky Music” (Robert Parissi)
From the album Wild Cherry
Epic Records, 1976