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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The M-Zee Band - Doctor Rhythm

Name: The M-Zee Band
Album: Doctor Rhythm
Year: 1981
Style: Humorous R&B/Rap/Funk
Similar Bands: Busboys, Capt Sky, Cameo, Stevie B, Chromeo
"One Word" Review: Funkin' Innuendo
Based Out Of: NYC, NY
Label: Mirage, Warner, Atlantic
 Doctor Rhythm - Cover & Record
 Doctor Rhythm - Back & Record
Doctor Rhythm (1981)
  1. Doctor Rhythm - 5:44
  2. Who's Funkin' You - 4:30
  3. Bop Box - 5:45/
  4. Sure Shot - 4:41
  5. I'm Savin' It For the One I Love - 4:37
  6. Fun House - 5:40
  7. Street Beat - 5:02
Album Rating (1-10): 6.0

Members & Other Bands:
Michael Zager - Producer, Arranger, Synth & Keys (10 Wheel Drive)
Deirdre O'Hara - Production Coordinator
Jolyon Skinner - Bass, Vox (Touch)
Alvin Fields - Backing Vox
Wayne Cooper - Backing Vox (Cameo)
Alfred Adams Jr - Drums (Fantasy)
Michael Campbell - Guitar (Change)
Jimmy Maelen - Percussion (Ambergirls, Shobizz, The Latin Dimension)
Bob Defrin - Art Direction
Jay Mark - Engineer
Carla Bandini - Engineer
John Convertino - Asst Engineer
Matthew Weiner - Asst Engineer
Jerry Love - Exec Producer
Dennis King - Mastering
David Kennedy - Photography
Pete Canarozzi - Programming
Eltesa Weathersby - Nurse Git Down
Jebadiah - Claps
Wiff - Claps
Rick Rock - Claps
Wrong Way Weathersby - Claps
Sir Fig Newton - Claps
A Cappella Angelina - Claps
Ambassador Orlando Charisma - Claps

Rock & Roll Bob - Claps

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of this band. But I love the idea of what is inside via the cover art. A crazy looking doctor/nurse sitting in what appears to be a bathtub with a stethoscope held up to a sizable boom box. I mean, how more specific of the style do you need? How bout including the album name Doctor Rhythm, and have the Dr in question staring right at it. If this is not come sort of crazy themed R&B concept, then I’ll be super-surprised.

Album Review: M-Zee stands for Michael Zager, who’s had a few self-named R&B Disco acts in the past, and has produced a lot of famous singer from Whitney Houston and Luther Vandross to Herb Alpert and the Spinners. There is, unfortunately, a lot more promise and possibility on this album than what is delivered.
“Doctor Rhythm” starts with a funky beat and a twinkling synth. It gets real Shaft like with an ambulance alarm, and a nurse’s announcement for Dr. Rhythm to show up. It is a slow and steady, close-dancing disco song with a plot and storyline for this Dr. to help cure anyone lacking funk. There is a little too much growl-R-rolling in his energetic singing. It teeters on the brink of absurdity and punny humor with the conversation between Nurse Git Down & Doctor Rhythm @ 4:30. Lack-Funk-Cosis is a real disease that only Dr. Rhythm can cure. Perhaps a distant cousin to Doctor Worm.
“Who's Funkin' You” takes a similar tempo with more wha-wha watery guitars, and is an obvious a play on words with the phrase I wanna funk you. It skips along the line of innuendo and plays on words, employing the popular 70-80’s rap context of explaining who the singer is, how great he is, and what he is here to do.
“Bop Box” was the single of the album, and is in reference to a Boom Box. It is a slowish funk (not fast, disco) song that explains what a Bop Box is and what it does. It’s a virtual commercial, selling the benefits of bringing your jams with you. The chorus has a nice build up, which crashes back down to the verse very quickly. It is smooth, and dare I say funky for lack of alternate adjectives. There are some great supporting vocals layered below the main vocals and hooks.

“Sure Shot” begins the second side with the same steady tempo R&B song with a quieter, hushed tone. The bass hook is shorter and catchier than the rest of the album yet, coupled with short verses that all end with the title as punctuation.
“I'm Savin' It For the One I Love”has a jazzy guitar start off the song, with a keyboard that sounds a little like the MASH intro. The song is full of honest sentiment, and female backing vocals. It is a little mystical in the synth production. There is a little dialogue section where a “hot” girl comes back for our hero singer, and now we know why he’s saving it...supposedly. The song does have a religious tone to it, but it does not say saving it for marriage…just for the love, which, I guess, to stay within the self-inflicted rules, could change daily.
“Fun House” – enters with a drum beat and real funky bass groove. Plucked electric guitar follows up, and it sounds like a Chromeo song. It is a really fun intro. But the song just becomes another repetitive story song about a Fun House, which is, in actuality, just a week metaphor for the hero/singer’s apartment. And at the end he just seems to come off really pathetic and begging for a girl to just come over.
“Street Beat” has a darker, almost thriller vibe to its introductory bass line. But the guitar lightens it up, and the song follows the recipe we’ve become used to on this album. Not fast, not danceable, except for a slow, close-dancing organic groove sort of movement. The secondary section is very smooth and follows a light disco melody, but the dark sinister bass and the wood block percussion are what define this song.

Stand Out Track: Doctor Rhythm

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