Lost Gem: Paris Ford Shifts the “Freak Stick”

(April 20, 2020) Throughout the ‘80s, New York bassist Paris Ford made his mark on a number of prominent R&B records, from his stint with The Brooklyn, Bronx & Queens Band on the 1981 jam “On the Beat” to supporting Rick James on 1986’s “Sweet and Sexy Thing.” He made a further impact on dance floors with his own releases under the alias of Pee Wee: 1982’s “Be My Girl” and 1983’s “Keep Dancin’” (both fronted by Change vocalist James Robinson).

Recently, Ford has been digging into his vaults of rare and unreleased material to spotlight both his distinctly funky plucking style and his understatedly sensuous vocal phrasing. The newest unveiled gem, “Freak Stick,” was originally planned for a 1986 release, but never made it past the vinyl test pressing stage. Breezing by on a deceptively simple, tasty synth-drum groove, Ford interweaves his soft falsetto delivery of the lines with bass work that adds just the right amount of funk to the mix.

(April 20, 2020) Throughout the ‘80s, New York bassist Paris Ford made his mark on a number of prominent R&B records, from his stint with The Brooklyn, Bronx & Queens Band on the 1981 jam “On the Beat” to supporting Rick James on 1986’s “Sweet and Sexy Thing.” He made a further impact on dance floors with his own releases under the alias of Pee Wee: 1982’s “Be My Girl” and 1983’s “Keep Dancin’” (both fronted by Change vocalist James Robinson).

Recently, Ford has been digging into his vaults of rare and unreleased material to spotlight both his distinctly funky plucking style and his understatedly sensuous vocal phrasing. The newest unveiled gem, “Freak Stick,” was originally planned for a 1986 release, but never made it past the vinyl test pressing stage. Breezing by on a deceptively simple, tasty synth-drum groove, Ford interweaves his soft falsetto delivery of the lines with bass work that adds just the right amount of funk to the mix.

“Freak Stick” was composed and produced by Ford with the late Errol Bedward, aka “Pumpkin”—the oft-sampled “King of the Beat” drummer/arranger behind many early hip-hop records on the Enjoy and Tuff City labels. Take a listen to this “new old school” groove below and let us know how it hits you!

by Justin Kantor

 

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