01 December 2008

December Artist of the Month: Slave

In funk circles, the name Slave has become synonyms with thumping monster bass-lines. Although it's Mark Adam's bass that played the biggest part in creating their signature sound, it was Steve Washington and Mark "Drac" Hicks who founded the band in Dayton Ohio back in 1975. The group scored a major hit with their first single "Slide" in 1977 .... but it wasn't until vocalist/drummer Steve Arrington, along with Starleana Young and Curt Jones, joined the group in 78 that the classic line-up would be set. Slave dropped 3 consecutive classic albums from 79-81 with Just a Touch of Love, Stone Jam & Show Time. From these 3 albums comes the majority of the groups best songs (Watching You, Just a Touch of Love, Snap Shot, For the Love of You, Party Lites, Slizzlin' Hot, Wait For Me, etc)

During this same period Washington formed a side group along with Curt Jones and Starleana Young called Aurra. They would find mainstream success of their own with the hits "Are You Single" & "Make Up Your Mind". Aurra's membership would stay made up of the main 3 plus revolving members of Slave until the mid 80s when Washington had a falling out with Young and Jones. Washington held the rights to the name Aurra, which he offered to sell to the duo. Young and Jones instead took the name Deja and would go on to score a #2 hit with "You & Me Tonight" before Starleana Young went solo 1988.

Steve Arrington left the group shortly after touring behind Show Time and started work on his solo project. The result would be the 1983 hood classic "Steve Arrington's Hall of Fame Vol 1" which would yield the song "Weak At The Knees" .... one of the most sampled bass-lines of the early 80s. Arrington, now a born again christian, would follow with his sophomore release "Positive Power" in 1984. While this album received a lukewarm response sales wise, it was another outstanding effort creatively. In 1985 Arrington would enjoy his most commercial success with the cross-over hits "Dancing in the Key of Life" & "Feels So Real". His sound now watered down by pop success, Steve would release two more solo albums before finally retiring full time to his ministry in the late 80s.

Slave would continue to release albums a few years after these departures, although none would spawn any radio hits. A few members still tour under the name Slave but it hardly bares any resemblance to the super group that ruled the funk world during the late 70s/early 80s.

This month Reunion Radio will be bringing you the music of Slave and it's satellites. We'll be playing the hits like Watching You & Slide but will also dig deeper with album tracks and some of the group's later recordings. So with the holiday season fast approaching ... turn on your Party Lites and groove along with the sound of Slave.

Reunion Radio