Saturday, 23 April 2016

"Wanna Make Love.../Sun-Power/Sunburn" by SUN (2016 Beat Goes on 2CD – Andrew Thompson Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

"…Live On, Dream On…"

The brainchild of Dayton Saxophonist Byron Byrd – SUN rode the Earth, Wind & Fire Soul Train back in the late Seventies and produced some seriously good dancefloor Funk along the way.

This flawed reissue from England's Beat Goes On Records contains their first three Soul/Funk albums for Capitol Records in 1976, 1977 and 1978 Remastered onto 2CDs – but unfortunately not without a silly error on Disc 2 (BGO are normally a byword for quality). It's still worth buying though - so here are the soothing Factor-8 details...

UK released March 2016 (April 2016 in the USA) – "Wanna Makes Love (Come Flick My BIC)/Sun-Power/Sunburn" by SUN on Beat Goes On BGOCD 1225 (Barcode 5017261212252) offers 3 Albums Remastered onto 2CDs and plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (77:07 minutes):
1. Love On, Dream On
2. Tell The People
3. My Woman
4. They're Calling For More
5. Wanna Make Love (Come Flick my BIC) [Side 2]
6. Love Is Never Sure
7. The Show Is Over
8. It's Killing Me
9. Give Your Love To Me
Tracks 1 to 9 are their debut album "Live On, Dream On" – initially released March 1976 in the USA on Capitol ST-11461 (Capitol E-ST 11461 in the UK) in a plain gold sleeve with the word SUN centered. After the "Wanna Make Love..." single became a belated hit – the LP was renamed "Wanna Make Love (Come Flick My BIC)" in July 1976 and reissued with the more commonly seen 'hot woman' artwork. It's that title and artwork that's used for this CD reissue. The BIC in the LP and song name refers to the US disposable cigarette lighter 'BIC' who instead of suing ran with the line and even made promo-only gold BIC lighters with the logo SUN on them.

10. Light Me Up
11. Boogie Bopper
12. We're So Hot
13. Conscience
14. Time Is Passing [Side 2]
15. Just A Minute Of Your Time
16. Organ Grinder
17. She Lives Alone
Tracks 10 to 17 are the album "Sun-Power" – released May 1977 in the USA on Capitol ST-11609 (no UK release)

Disc 2 (40:46 minutes):
1. Introduction (a) You Are My Sunshine (b) Sun is Here
2. Dance (Do What You Wanna Do)
3. When You Put Your Hand In Mine
4. You're The One
5. Long Drawn Out Thang [Side 2]
6. You Don’t Have To Hurry
7. I Had A Choice
8. Sun Of A Gun
Tracks 1 to 8 are their 3rd album "Sunburn" – released April 1978 in the USA on Capitol ST-11723 (Capitol E-ST 11723 in the UK).

The care slipcase lends the whole shebang a classy feel and the 24-page booklet with liner notes from Mojo writer and genre expert CHARLES WARING gives you a detailed overview of their entire career. You get session details, lyrics for the first two LPs and photos. The Remasters are by ANDREW THOMPSON and suffice to say that these babies FUNK with a capitol UNK – the audio on these CDs is superlative – alive and fresh and guaranteed to make even the most jaded rear end boogie Woogie. However – as one other reviewer has quite rightly pointed out – there’s a major mastering error on Disc 2. The track "Dance (Do What You Wanna Do)" is inexplicably presented as a 4:08 minute 7" single edit on my CD without saying so instead of the Full Album Version at 6:06 minutes. As this is a huge club and dancehall fave so it's a major boo-boo on the part of BGO who should have of course included the 7" single edit as a Bonus Track at the end of Disc 2. Perhaps later pressings will rectify this – but for the moment fans will have to do with what they've got. As I say – the Audio is superb – and frankly that's what I’m after more...

The 1976 debut LP is the most overtly P-Funk of the three – going straight for the butt-wiggling jugular with the brilliant opener "Live On, Dream On" – a relentless groove making sure that shapes and spandex are gonna fill the dancefloor. "Tell The People" gives it some Meters guitar allied with Graham Central Station falsetto vocals and is another winner. Can't say I'm partial to the sappy ballad "My Woman" which sounds like he's gonna start rapping in a Barry White voice about making 'lurve' any second (pretty audio though). Better is the Latin rhythms in "Calling for More" with Dean Hummons playing a blinder on the piano. The Byron Byrd penned "Wanna Make Love (Come Flick My BIC)" was issued by Capitol in the US as a 45 (Capitol 4254) with the acoustic ballad "Love Is Never Sure" as its flip-side. The infectious Roger Troutman voicebox vocals on the A and that funky dancing backbeat meant a six-week stint on the single charts for "Wanna Make Love..." (peaked at No. 76 in October 1976). Capitol UK even gave the 3:26 minute song a 12" single release on Capitol 12 CL 16109 – a long sought-after stepper for DJs in the know. "The Show Is Over" is a pretty song while Trumpeter Chris Jones discovers his inner Stevie Wonder on his Innervisions-hooky "It's Killing Me". It ends on the brass and piano EWF vibe of "Give Your Love To Me" – another commercial winner from Trumpeter Chris Jones.

Highlights from the other two albums include the catchy dancer "Light Me Up" and the 7:11 minutes of the beautiful arranged "Time Is Passing" – an almost Crusaders-ish groove with a wonderful slink to it that hooks you immediately. I've always dug the funk-cool of "Organ Grinder" where the band sound like Narada Michael Walden talking about that girl in the disco with her hot body in deadly motion. The slap-bass funk of "Sun Is Here" could probably have done without its superfluous "You Are My Sunshine" opening minute and that "Dance..." track has always been a fave. "When You Put Your Hand In Mine" feels like a Smokey Robinson solo track complete with falsetto vocal – better is the hard-hitting Funk of "Long Drawn Out Thang" – a fantastic and sexy dancefloor slap-bass marathon at 6:19 minutes. Another winner is the wickedly catchy "You Don't Have To Worry" - a tune Graham Central Station would have top-ten'd easily...

To sum up - a great reissue of three criminally forgotten albums by Soul and Funk boys SUN. I've loved re-hearing this wicked and underrated LPs again but that glitch on Disc 2 is a major mistake (docked a star for that) and needs to be fixed by BGO pronto. Outside of that fans should dive in and butt-waddle to the glory years of SUN once more...

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