Randy Muller - Kenny Dope Presents Randy Muller's Best (2008)

Randy Muller
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If you were in a club, skating rink or in your room playing those cassette tapes or vinyl records while preparing to go out in the 1970s and 80s, there's a good chance that you were listening to the music of Brass Construction, BT Express or Skyy. However, the name Randy Muller and the connection he has with all three bands might escape even the biggest Funkster or Disco Diva.

I mentioned the name Randy Muller to a musician friend of mine who, like me, grew up when the music of all three groups was getting massive radio airplay and packing dance floors and skating rinks around the nation. The name didn't ring any bells. Mention, the names of the bands to which Muller lent his talents, and bells begin to ring. I mentioned B T Express, and my musician friend was humming that classic bass line to the song "Express." So it's clear that Muller made some memorable music.

If you were in a club, skating rink or in your room playing those cassette tapes or vinyl records while preparing to go out in the 1970s and 80s, there's a good chance that you were listening to the music of Brass Construction, BT Express or Skyy. However, the name Randy Muller and the connection he has with all three bands might escape even the biggest Funkster or Disco Diva.

I mentioned the name Randy Muller to a musician friend of mine who, like me, grew up when the music of all three groups was getting massive radio airplay and packing dance floors and skating rinks around the nation. The name didn't ring any bells. Mention, the names of the bands to which Muller lent his talents, and bells begin to ring. I mentioned B T Express, and my musician friend was humming that classic bass line to the song "Express." So it's clear that Muller made some memorable music.

The compilation disc Kenny ‘Dope' Presents Randy Muller's Best gives Muller his due credit as one of the chief architects of the funk, disco and party music from the mid-1970s through the mid-1980s. The tunes are familiar to anyone who had a pulse during that era: "Express," "Ha Cha Cha," "Call Me," and "Movin" are all represented.

The Kenny ‘Dope' mentioned in the title of this compilation is DJ Kenny ‘Dope' Gonzalez. These days, DJ's serve as musicologists. They're always looking for that perfect beat to sample or mix so people will get on the dance floor. And what Kenny ‘Dope' Presents Randy Muller's Best proves is that Muller created plenty of perfect beats. The album features extended versions of some of Muller's most memorable tunes, and Kenny ‘Dope's mixing provides a seamless transition from one song to another. Truth is, that Kenny ‘Dope' pretty much stays out of the way and allows the music of Randy Muller to speak for itself.

What this record proves is that Muller's arrangements pretty much covered the musical styles that dominated urban radio in mid-1970s and early 1980s - hard driving funk is represented on the skater's anthem "Express," as well as the funk-jazz masterpiece "Movin'."

Skyy's "High" and Brass Construction's "Ha Cha Cha," conjure of images of strobe lights. The high energy fusion of Latin Funk punctuated with one of the best horn sections this side of EW&F stands as a sweaty rebuttal to the disco sucks crowd. Anybody who doesn't want to acknowledge that there were some seriously talented performers in the disco arena has to have some kind of hidden agenda.

And then there's Skyy's two monster jams "Call Me," and "Let's Celebrate." Let's just say that both bring back memories, and from a musical standpoint both hold up pretty doggone well more than two decades after they were released. That's kind of ironic for a song like "Call Me" with its references to feeding dimes into pay phones. What makes this song ironic is that this funky number just cries out to become the ring tone for somebody's cell phone.

And of course, the sentiment expressed in the song makes "Call Me" timeless. The Kenny ‘Dope' Gonzalez performed a public service when he mixed and remastered this compilation by allowing listeners to appreciate the role Randy Muller played in contributing to the soundtrack of a generation. This compilation brings back some good memories - and some good music

Howard Dukes

 
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