Classics: Skyy – First Time Around (12″ Special Remix) (Salsoul Records)
Like many of their pairs such as Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards (Chic), Randy Muller and Solomon Roberts, Jr. came up with an instantly identifiable sound. This resulting in specific vocal arrangements. But also a proper approach to craft the grooves. Infectious and intoxicating being the first words comin’ to mind to qualify them.
From their eponymous debut-album back in 1979, ‘First Time Around’ could well be their most accomplished work at the end. Blending electronic effects, quite avant-gardist for the time being, with an insame rhythm guitar part and hypnotic strings over a bumpin’ bassline. Meanwhile movin’ over a lascivious tempo. I wouldn’t be surprised at the end Lil’ Louis came to find some influence in there when putting together ‘Nyce N Slo’ years after…
First time around, but certainly not the last, with the same pleasure when comin’ to give it a listen after all these years. Larry Levan eventually gave it a remix version soon after on the Canadian branch of Salsoul Records.
Born in Brooklyn, NY in the 70’s. From the reunion of Anibal “Butch” Sierra, Gerald Lebon, Tommy McConnell, Larry Greenburg, Denise Dunning Wilkinson, Bonnie Dunning Williams and Delores Dunning Milligan. But also producer Solomon Burke, Jr. soon after joined by keyboardist/flautist Randy Muller. Skyy (known as New York Skyy in the UK) dropped 7 albums on Salsoul Records, with their biggest success from this period being ‘Call Me’. Meanwhile, they left a bunch of extra gems also quite worth the listen. From ‘This Groove Is Bad’ to ‘First Time Around’. Not to mention ‘Here’s To You’, ‘Let’s Celebrate’,’Skyyzoo’ and ‘Show Me The Way’.
They briefly switched to Capitol Records after Salsoul Records ceased its activities, therefore releasing the 1986 album – ‘From The Left Side’ – which featured ‘Givin’ It (To You)’. They nevertheless would get stronger exposure 3 years later with their before last album, ‘Start Of A Romance’, on Atlantic. Successively with its title track and ‘Real Love’.
– Born in Guyana, Randy Muller relocated to Brooklyn, NY where he first took up music at Thomas Jefferson High School. There, he made friends with Solomon Roberts, Jr. and Jeff Lane with whom he would establish some solid partnership along with time.
Muller started arranging songs for Jeff Lane‘s group B.T. Express. Meanwhile the latter became his partner, producing early material for his group, Brass Construction.
A multi-instrumentist, Randy established himself as the driving force of the latter Skyy, Funk Deluxe and First Circle. This resulting in an incredible series of standards. From ‘Movin” to ‘Love’, ‘Ha Cha Cha’ and ‘Music Makes You Feel Like Dancing’. But also ‘Can You See The Light’ or ‘Walkin’ The Line’ for Brass Construction. Then ‘First Time Around’, ‘Let’s Celebrate’ and ‘Here’s To You’. This in addition to ‘Call Me’, ‘Skyyzoo’, ‘This Groove Is Bad’ and ‘Show Me The Way’ for Skyy. Not to mention ‘This Time’ and ‘Workin’ Up A Sweat’, respectively for Funk Deluxe and Full Circle.
The depository of an instantly recognizable sound, he has collaborated with countless artists. From Garnet Mimms to Charles Earland. But also Mark Radice and Tamiko Jones. Meanwhile he would bring Rafael Cameron to sign a record deal with Salsoul Records. This resulting in extra goodies such as ‘Magic Of You’, ‘Funtown U.S.A.’, ‘All That’s Good To Me’. And last but not least ‘Boogie’s Gonna Get You’ with remix work courtesy of François K.
Still in activity nowadays, Randy runs his own label, Plaza Records, which he launched back in 1988.
Also a flautist, ‘Livin’ In Da Rhythm’ saw him more recently exploring jazzy territories under his Randy Muller Boom Chang Bang guise. Meawnhile he also ventured sporadically into House such as on the firing ‘Devotion’ and on ‘Worm Theory’ as… Worm Theory.
His natural penchant seeing him returning to Soul and Funk vibes along with Carolyn Harding on the blowing ‘Beautiful Feelin”. This with additional remixes courtesy of Nigel Lowis.