Sunday, January 12, 2014

KC - KC Ten

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of KC Ten, the tenth studio album from KC and the Sunshine Band. It spent eighteen weeks on the US Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 93. It would also be their last album before the band disbanded; it would be another decade before they reformed again.

Side one begins with “Give It Up”. Although the song also appeared on their previous album All In A Night’s Work from 1982, it really took off as a single from this one. It went to number 43 in Canada, number 24 on the US Billboard Dance chart, number 23 in Germany, number 18 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 8 in the Netherlands, number 4 in New Zealand, number 3 in Australia, number 2 in Belgium, and number 1 in Ireland and the UK. This one gets the energy level right up out of the gate, with the powerful horn section and an infectious rhythm. It is definitely a favorite of mine as it has the ability to brighten my mood greatly.

“Are You Ready” keeps the party going with a bouncy beat. As the second single, it stalled at number 104 on the US Billboard Hot 200 chart but went to number 22 in Australia. The lead vocals are delivered in mostly a falsetto.

KC goes to the other extreme with his vocals for “On the Top”; he goes for a guttural growl to go with the track’s harder rocking edge.

“Don’t Break My Heart” and “Nobody Knows”, two mid-tempo dance tracks, close out the side. Both have elements that reflect back upon the band’s late 70’s charting days. The latter of the two filters in some slight synth elements though.

Side two opens with “Too High”, an up-tempo song about a young woman who is caught up in the world of designer drugs.

Things slow down with the love ballads “Don’t Let Go” and “In My World”.

“Let’s Get Together” is a duet with Margaret Reynolds, who had been one of the backing singers with the band for years. The two harmonize quite well on this mid-tempo R&B jam. I smiled at the usage of a children’s song as part of the fading out refrain.

The album closes with a cool cover of Sly and the Family Stone’s 1969 hit “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)”. I think this could have been a pretty good single if they had released it.

KC Ten is one of those records that faded into the lost zone of the 80’s; you can find copies in vinyl and cassette on eBay though. While some of the tracks have hit CD collections, the entire grouping has yet to surface in its original package content. As a long-time, card-carrying disco fan, I certainly enjoyed the songs here - in particular the more up-tempo dance numbers.

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