up, clap your hands
get on up and clap your hands"
Hustle has kept the fires burnin' now for 7 years
and we're celebrating our anniversary with a funky disco jam!
We'll be joined by the Queen of Rare Groove herself, vocalist
Gwen is known for her classic dance floor fillers "All This
Love That I'm Givin", "Keep The Fires Burning",
"Rockin Chair", "Funky Sensation", "90%
Of Me Is You", "Doin It" (recently sussed by Ashley
Beedle for his Grassroots compilation on Strut Records) and many
others. Gwen McCrae tracks contain enduring beats and vocals so
dope that they've been sampled by the diverse likes of Afrika
Bambaata, Lost Boyz, Cassius, Big Daddy Kane, Masters At Work,
Biz Markie, and Scarface.
Our January 1997 event
with Gwen drew 900 people to the Guvernment Nightclub in -35C
temperature! It was our first presentation of an international
artist and one of our most memorable Bump N' Hustle parties ever.
Rippin' it on the turntables will be Paul E Lopes, Mike
Tull, Son Of S.O.U.L. and Moreno.
was born in Pensacola, Florida on December 21, 1943. The youngest
of five children, her earliest influence was Gospel music and
Gwen spent countless hours listening to The Mighty Clouds of Joy
and James Cleveland. Later, she discovered Sam Cooke and Aretha
Franklin. Gwen's singing career began in local groups, such as
The Lafayettes and The Independents. The transition from Gospel
to secular music and performing in clubs went surprisingly smooth,
despite her strict Pentecostal upbringing.
Stone's T.K. record empire went belly-up in the early eighties,
Gwen had recorded some twenty+ singles for the label's Cat subsidiary.
"Rock Your Baby", turned husband George into a disco
star and put T.K. records on the international music map. It was
a worldwide smash and sold well over 16-million copies. Gwen followed
up with "Rockin Chair" and a grammy nomination.
After TK went
under, Gwen was spotted at a showcase and was signed personally
by Ahmet Ertegün, the chairman of the board at Atlantic Records.
The debut single was written and produced by Kenton Nix, who also
wrote the massive 1981 track "Heartbeat" for Tanaa Gardner.
"Funky Sensation" without a doubt some of the best dance-friendly
Soul ever made, became an instant club favorite and raced to R&B
#22 in September 1981. It was Gwen's biggest hit since "Love
Insurance" from six years earlier. Gwen's eponymously titled
LP was filled with high-quality, dance-Soul, such as "Poyson",
a track co-written by Gwen.
funky 45 "Keep The Fire Burning", written by Willie
Hutch, was launched in January 1982. A happy Gwen smiled from
ear to ear on the sleeve of the album "On My Way". Gwen
had never sounded better and the material was strong. A host of
well-known musicians and writers contributed, such as Michael
Wycoff, Nathan Watts, James Gadson, Fred Wesley, David T. Walker,
Paulinho Da Costa and Leo Nocentelli. Willie Hutch also wrote
the second single "Doin' It", yet another seriously
In the mid-eighties,
the phenomena known as "Rare Groove" -which is the equivalent
of the U.S. "Old School Revival"- happened in the U.K.
A growing number of British Soul fans rediscovered Gwen McCrae
and the interest led her to re-record "Funky Sensation"
on the Rhythm King label in 1987. That year, Gwen traveled to
Britain for some club dates, only to learn that she was more loved
in the U.K. than in her native America. The British even dubbed
her "The Queen of Rare Groove." "When I went overseas,
I didn't know people loved me so much. They really loved my old
stuff and I had to go up there and sing 'All This Love That I'm
Givin', which is a classic in Europe. And then "Funky Sensation"
and "Keep The Fire's Burning" are also classics over
there. Yeah, I was shocked! "
Gwen kept busy with shows in the U.K. and her 1996 single "Girlfriend's
Boyfriend" was an underground success.
with the Nashville, Tennessee-based GoldWax record label (distributed
by Ichiban) and the result; "Psychic Hot Line", landed
on the shelves in October 1996. The U.S. radio embraced the funky
title track, which was picked as the first single. The album can
only be described as superb and marks a welcome return to Gwen's
deep Soul roots, with a touch of down-home Blues thrown in the
mix, as well. Playing behind Gwen is something as rare as a live
band and the material is made up of three new cuts; "The
Snake That Hisses" (co-written by Gwen), "Your Kinda
Loving Ain't Good Enough" and "Psychic Hot Line",
plus several wonderful renditions of R&B classics, Solomon
Burke's "Cry To Me" being one.
Gwen has definitely
proved to be one of the most consistent -and finest- exponents
of the Southern "deep soul" style of singing.