Wednesday, 7 July 2010

New Horizons - New Horizons/ Gonna Have Big Fun - 2010 - Funky Town Grooves

Columbia was a crackin' label in the 1980s, and a lot of effort was put into quality black music at that time - how times change!!! Anyway, my the mid 1980s Roger Troutman and Zapp were at the height of their powers and various artists basked in the Ohio sunshine thanks to the involvement of Roger Troutman, Billy Beck and Zapp Troutman. One group on Columbia was especially blessed in the 1983 - 1984 period, and that was the quartet known as New Horizons. Although, as far as I am concerned this is not the best or greatest work put out by the legendary Roger Troutman and definitely weak as water compared to mighty sets from Bobby Glover, Human Body, Shirley Murdock and Sugarfoot. That said, this is still very worthwhile as a purchase - especially for the two songs that I'll first highlight. These tracks have already been released in the past on various compilations through Expansion and Rhino but are now unavailable.'s your chance!

1983's New Horizons set contains two superb efforts and they kickstart the album and the two-fer CD. The bass heavy, slapping Zapp beat so well loved by funk aficionados is gloriously resplendent and in control on "Your Thing Is Your Thing". The clapping beat, the freaky synths, rumbling bass and overall fun, tongue-in-cheek feeling is superb. No wonder many turned to Zapp and Roger for their loops, beats and inspiration in the days of G-Funk and 90s rap. 27 years on, incredibly, this still packs a punch and more than sounds good today. Following this is a beautifully summery piece akin to Bobby Glover's "It's My Turn"...if you love that song then "I Can't Tell You" will be exactly what the Doctor ordered. The scratchy guitar and dreamy keys are perfect compliment to Roger's expert and unique vocal arrangements. These two songs alone render this release as essential. For me there is little else that ranks as high, and 1984's "Gonna Have Big Fun" only comes close with the sensitive and chilled "Love To Spend The Night" - a track that contains some lovely synths and harmonies but it is also nice to hear the original version of "No One Ever Will" which is warmer that the later version on Lynch's 1989 CD for Capitol. This, too makes a purchase necessary. i am so happy that albums like this are finding a new home - legitimately - on CD and I am so, so happy too that the Sugarfoot is seeing an immanent release in Japan...see? Prayer does work!

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe