In the beginning… The group was inspired by trumpeter Donald Byrd and featured some of his Howard University students: Kevin Toney (keyboards), Keith Killgo (vocals, drums), Joe Hall (bass guitar), Allan Barnes (saxophone, clarinet), and Barney Perry (guitar). Orville Saunders (guitar), and Jay Jones (flute, saxophone) joined later.
They signed to Fantasy Records in 1973. Their 1975 hit “Walking in Rhythm” received a Grammy nomination and sold over one million copies by May 1975. It was later awarded a gold disc!
With eight albums released for Fantasy from 1974 to 1980, The Blackbyrds became an inspiration to late 1970s and early 1980s British jazz-funk acts such as Light of the World and Hi-Tension.
However, i would like to draw focus on one such album, ‘Action’ from 1977 and a specific track called ‘Mysterious Vibes’… Laid back, chilled, the kind of music you might turn to when times are tough, a little something to soothe the pain of every day life. This specific track would have you on the road to recovery in no time at all..!
Skip forward a few decades and you will find this track got a lot of love from Hed Kandi.. More about that below. First here’s the original, taken from the album ‘Action’ – Give it a spin >>
Jump forward a good few decades, along came Hed Kandi (run by Mark Doyle at the time) who released a sublime album series for the modern lovers of disco, called Disco Heaven.
On Disco Heaven 02.03 was a track ‘Kojo Presents The Blackbyrds Mysterious Vibes – The Joey Negro Mix’… As you would expect from a pedigree of Mark Doyle and more so Joey Negro, this track was renovated for the modern era.
Faithful to the original in many ways, laid back grooves, now complete with enough energy to whip the dance floor in to shape for the modern disco house lover!
Have a listen to the ‘modern’ version as we take a tour back in to the soulful seduction archives
If you fancy the version from 2003, make sure you give the Disco Heaven 02.03 compilation a quick spin, it is full of amazing tracks from the disco house scene, Michelle Weeks, Urban Blues Project, Michael Procter… Some amazing material!
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