Monday, December 28, 2015

Full Force - Full Force

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of the self-titled debut album from Full Force. Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, the band included Brian "B-Fine" George (drums), Junior "Shy Shy" Clark (bass), Curt "Curt T-T" Bedeau (guitar), Gerry "Baby Gee" Charles (keyboards), Paul Anthony George (vocals) and Lucien "Bow-Legged Lou" George Jr. (vocals).

Prior to making their own record, they had much success working with other New York City based hip-hop acts. Full Force peaked at number 160 on the US Billboard Album chart (with an eight week run total) and number 29 on the US Billboard R&B chart.

Side one opens with "Alice, I Want You Just For Me!" an up-tempo overture of love which was written by Howie Tee, a Brooklyn hip-hop DJ. As a single, it reached number 34 on the US Billboard Dance chart and number 16 on the US Billboard R&B chart. The song features a relentless pounding beat and a funky bass hook that sticks with you as soon as you hear it. Numerous times throughout, Lou drops the group's signature tag line "Full Force get busy one time". The six plus minute album version was a great dance workout, one that I often used when preparing for a night out at the clubs.

"Unselfish Lover", the third single, rose to number 34 on the US Billboard R&B chart. This mid-tempo tune straddles the line between R&B ballad and dance tune. It has a sexy and seductive sway to it.

Things slow down with the ballad "Please Stay" where a man begs for his lover to not leave. I like the vocal harmonies that the guys are laying down here.

"United" is a six and a half jam session with guests Howie Tee, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, the Real Roxanne, and UTFO (all of whom the group had worked with previously in the early 80's). As the opening vocal by Roxanne says, they are the Full Force family and together they are a truly a musical force with which to be reckoned.

Side two begins with "Girl If You Take Me Home", an answer response to the Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam 1984 hit "I Wonder If I Take You Home" from their self-titled 1985 debut album (on which Full Force appeared and produced). The two songs share a similar bass line and melody, and this new track also the other R&B group as guests. As a single, it hit number 79 on the US Billboard R&B chart and number 32 on the US Billboard Dance chart.

"The Dream Believer" is an up-tempo dance tune that draws direct inspiration from Dr. Martin Luther King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech; it even features an audio clip from it on the bridge.

I really like how "Half A Chance" ramps up into a high energy jam with a great guitar groove and more irresistible beats.

"The Man Upstairs" is an inspirational ballad that pays tribute to God.

The album closes on a high note with mid-tempo funk groove "Let's Dance Against the Wall".

Back in the late 80's, I owned a copy of Full Force on cassette which I wore out from so many repeated listenings. This was certainly a favorite record of mine as the decade of the 80's was winding down. A number of years back, I replaced that with a digital copy for my iTunes library.

For more from Full Force, click here.

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