Who remembers The Fresh Band? Well, unless you were a regular club goer in the early to mid eighties venturing inside establishments where DJs specialised in the Funk, you probably won’t. So for the uninitiated, they brought out one particularly impressive 12” single called ‘Come Back Lover’ released on New York label Are ‘N Be in 1984, a serious club groove with a bass line inspired by Slave’s Mark Adams courtesy of bassist George Rodgers. The tune was co-written by Tony McLachlan (aka Tony Mack) and was produced by Darryl Gibbs.
Aah, Darryl Gibbs! Now we’re entering more familiar territory. Gibbs was well known for his work with Crown Heights Affair and some gems on Prelude with The Strikers including ‘Inch By Inch’ and the dance floor classic from 1981 ‘Body Music’. These days Gibbs is VP of Trezure Roxx Records and last year he and McLachlan got back together to work on some new Fresh Band material. The result is a five track EP, ‘Trezure The Love’ under the guise of Fresh Band feat. Tony Mack, a contemporary set with a real mid eighties vibe.
Using mainly electronics, without doubt this is 21st century music but the heavy use of the vocoder, recently used to such devastating effect Zapp-stylee by Bruno Mars, takes us back thirty years as does the overall sound. This EP cannot be dismissed as modern day R&B because it’s seriously funky, the squealing synth hooks taking you back to better days.
‘Where Is Love’ is an uptempo funky dance track with a kickin’ beat while ‘A Woman Who Knows’ slows things down nicely to a two-step tempo that was so in vogue around 1986, complete with a strong melody. ‘Since I’ has a similar cool midtempo vibe before ‘I.C.U.’ takes us back into boogie territory. Then we get to the killer title track, one of those soulful funky midtempo tunes which would have been outstanding if it had a vocalist like, say, Jeffrey Osborne singing it. As it is, we’ll settle for Tony Mack and settle for it being pretty good.
While the EP is not a complete recreation of 80s groove in a way that Cool Million have done so brilliantly in recent years, ‘Trezure The Love’ has the spirit of the eighties running through its veins. It isn’t an essential purchase – ‘Come Back Lover’ is if you don’t already own it – but there is plenty to enjoy and nothing to disappoint.