Tommy Stewart

Tommy Stewart

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It's almost impossible to keep a straight face while listening to this album, but then, you really shouldn't have to try. It's a document of one of pop music's most simultaneously embarrassing and glorious periods -- the High Disco Era -- when all pretense of lyrical sophistication was abandoned in favor of occasional interjections of "Hey! Get down! Get off your seats and jam!" (a direct quote from this album), every guitar had a wah-wah pedal, and prestige was measured in the size of your horn and string sections. Now this stuff is called "rare groove," and it's at least as much fun now as it was then, maybe more so. Tommy Stewart, king of the legendary Abraxas label, recorded this album back when this candy-covered funk was the happening thing; and it includes, among other classics of the genre, the deathless "Bump and Hustle Music," along with the sexy-kitschy "Fulton County Line," and the charming "Practice What You Preach." The unison voices-and-strings on "Make Happy Music" were a bad, bad idea, but "Riding High" makes up for it by sounding like an airline advertisement circa 1976. A party classic.

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