First Listen: 70s hitmaker group Ripple returns to "Exercise"

(May 16, 2020) Although the southwestern Michigan turf of Kalamazoo spawned important musical developments during the early 20th century in the realms of symphonies and instrument manufacturing, the city didn’t land on maps as a hotbed of contemporary performers until much later. In 1973, funk band Ripple was one of the first notable acts from the area to generate notable chart action.

The group’s 1973 romp, “I Don’t Know What It Is, But It Sure Is Funky,” narrowly missed the R&B top 10, but has resurfaced a handful of times since through vocal elements forming integral parts of successful recordings. In 1989 alone, the tune’s contagious “oh-la oh-la ay” chant featured prominently in the worlds of hip-hop (Kid ’N Play’s “Rollin’ with Kid ’N Play”) and reggae-inspired pop (Marcia Griffiths’ worldwide smash, “Electric Boogie”). More recently, the same line was incorporated into Ciara’s 2013 cut, “Livin’ It Up.”

(May 16, 2020) Although the southwestern Michigan turf of Kalamazoo spawned important musical developments during the early 20th century in the realms of symphonies and instrument manufacturing, the city didn’t land on maps as a hotbed of contemporary performers until much later. In 1973, funk band Ripple was one of the first notable acts from the area to generate notable chart action.

The group’s 1973 romp, “I Don’t Know What It Is, But It Sure Is Funky,” narrowly missed the R&B top 10, but has resurfaced a handful of times since through vocal elements forming integral parts of successful recordings. In 1989 alone, the tune’s contagious “oh-la oh-la ay” chant featured prominently in the worlds of hip-hop (Kid ’N Play’s “Rollin’ with Kid ’N Play”) and reggae-inspired pop (Marcia Griffiths’ worldwide smash, “Electric Boogie”). More recently, the same line was incorporated into Ciara’s 2013 cut, “Livin’ It Up.”

Although Ripple was unable to duplicate the R&B success of its first hit single, the band regrouped and issued a well-received album in the height of the disco era featuring the high-charting club tune “The Beat Goes On and On.” Several decades have passed without new material, but original members Curtis “Kazoo” Reynolds and Keith Samuels recently teamed up at Ripple 2.20 for the slow-churning “Exercise My Love.”

Focusing on slowly building falsetto vocals and frank lyrics, the song contrasts passages of concern and doubt in a relationship with breezy melodies and rhythmic arrangement twists. Take a First listen to “Exercise My Love” below!

by Justin Kantor

Ripple 2.20 - "Exercise My Love"

 
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