First Circle

Boys' Night Out

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First Circle were among the one-album wonders of '80s R&B; 1987's Boys' Night Out was their first album as well as their last. But had it not been for an unavoidable name change, it's quite possible that First Circle would have become much better known. Formed in 1977, the Brooklyn residents were originally called Crossbow but had changed their name to Full Circle by the time EMI released their catchy single "Workin' Up a Sweat" in late 1986. But that name change wasn't the problem; it was the one that came after that. "Workin' Up a Sweat" was climbing the R&B charts when they learned that there was a Boston-based jazz group that also had the name Full Circle; so for legal reasons, Full Circle became First Circle (which was also the name of an album by jazz guitarist Pat Metheny). The single was re-released with the group's new name, and they were going by First Circle by the time Boys' Night Out was released in 1987. But unfortunately for the former Crossbow/former Full Circle, the second name change caused a lot of confusion at radio and retail; as a result, Boys' Night Out was a commercial disappointment. But from a creative standpoint, this isn't a bad album at all. Produced by Randy Muller (who was known for leading Brass Construction and producing Skyy), Boys' Night Out could be described as an appealing combination of Skyy, Chic, and Change; there are elements of all three in First Circle's sound, and grooves like "Get Off It," "In the Name of Love," and "Miracle Worker" (all of which Muller either wrote or co-wrote) sound like they could have been written in the early '80s. Muller's production, however, is decidedly high-tech, so even though the songs themselves might brings to mind 1981-1982, the production is more typical of 1986 and 1987. For many years, Boys' Night Out was out of print. But in 2011 it was reissued as a 64-minute CD by Funky Town Grooves (which added four remixes as bonus tracks). Boys' Night Out isn't an exceptional album, but it's definitely a good, enjoyable album and deserved more exposure than it received back in 1987.

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