Friday, January 3, 2014

The Deele - Street Beat

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Street Beat, the debut album from the Deele. This Cincinnati, OH, based band was made up of Darnell Bristol (vocals), Stanley Burke (guitar and keyboards), Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds (keyboards, guitar and vocals), Carlos Greene (vocals), Antonio “L.A.” Reid (drums) and Kevin Roberson (bass). The record went to number 78 on the US Billboard Album chart and number 9 on the Billboard R&B chart.

Side one begins with the dance-floor hit “Body Talk”, which went to number 77 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 3 on the US Billboard R&B chart. It would be featured later in the year on the pilot episode of Miami Vice. This one has slinky, funky groove to it that sounds awesome blasting from the speakers.

“I Surrender” keeps the party going with a song about giving in to complete and utter attraction.

“Just My Luck” slows things down a bit with a smooth ballad.

“Sexy Love” closes out the first half with another throw down jam.

Side two starts with the title track “Street Beat”, a percussion driven dance track about the urban sounds that moved people. The lilting vocals of the title during the chorus, for me, come across a little more creepy than sexy.

“Video Villain” ties right into the early 80’s arcade presence with a mid-tempo dance jam complete with game-like sound effects.

Things slow down once more with “Crazy ‘bout ‘Cha”.

“Working (9 to 5)” ends things on a mid-tempo note.

On Street Beat, the new-wave funk of the Deele reminds me quite a bit of Solar Records label-mates Midnight Star (a group whose albums I played a ton of in the 80‘s). I suspect that if I had owned this album back in the day that it would have been part of my getting-psyched music when preparing for a night of going out to dance. If you’re looking for some solid, mid-80’s R&B, you can find this one on Spotify as well as iTunes.

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