March 4, 2016

52nd Street - Children Of The Night, 1985

As is often the case with collaborations, Manchester based jazz-funk and R&B group 52nd Street put out their strongest material at the very beginning of their career. In 1982, while being courted by both RCA and Warner, the manager-less group opted to release several singles through UK's Factory Records. "Cool As Ice," "Can't Afford," and "Look Into My Eyes" are to this day some of the heaviest grooves I've ever heard.  

52nd went on to record two full-length albums for Virgin Records including this one, 1985's Children Of The Night produced by Philadelphia-based Nick Martinelli, who also worked with UK R&B group Loose Ends. The album still maintains the unapologetically dense 808 drum machine loops and poppin' bass slaps of their earlier work, but is significantly smoother and more expensive sounding, and with more complex songs.

It would have been difficult to continue pumping out the amateurish rawness of their early work, having gone through several changes in the cast of characters and pressure from labels to work with an established producer. Nevertheless, the band came through with some magic on this album. Note: this download includes four extra tracks from the 2008 reissue, including the aforementioned "Look Into My Eyes," and another mix of "Cool as Ice.")

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