Wild Cherry: Robert Parissi, Brian Bassett (vocals, guitar); Allen Wentz (vocals, bass, synthesizer); Ronald Beitle (vocals, drums).
Additional personnel includes: Chuck Berginc, Jack Brandiar, Joe Eckert, Rick Singer (horns); Mark Asvec (piano, synthesizer); Jerry Pollack (vibraphone); Tampa Lynn, Becky Goldstein (backround vocals).
Recorded at Cleveland Recording Company, Cleveland, Ohio. Includes liner notes by Bruno Bornio.
Wild Cherry gave up the funk as hard and nasty as just about any other '70s outfit you could name. The twist, as chronicled on this debut album's opening cut (the group's lone hit) "Play That Funky Music," is that the quartet was made up of guys with surnames like Wentz and Parissi--an unusual circumstance in those benighted, pre-Red Hot Chili Peppers days. Though some cuts are punctuated by a horn section, Wild Cherry mostly keeps its funk lean and mean, focusing on the rhythm section like any groove-based band should.
The central features of Wild Cherry's sound are Robert Parissi's lascivious, Rick James-like vocals and Allen Wentz's Bootsy/Larry Graham-derived bass style, a marvel of hard-hitting, thumb-slapping funk. Though things drift a bit off course with an ill-advised cover of the Motown classic "Nowhere To Run" and the obligatory ballad "Hold On," the hard-partying, heavy-grooving sound of "I Feel Sanctified" and "Don't Go Near The Water" sets things right. The album closes as it opened, with Parissi pledging Wild Cherry's allegiance to the funk, declaring the group's choice of Soul Train over Woodstock.
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