Classics: Ten City – Right Back To You (Extended Version) (Atlantic)
Ten City, Marshall Jefferson, Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley… A line-up looking like the one of the Chicago Bulls at the time no one could seem to resist them. And the fact is both Ten City, Jefferson and Hurley gave House Music its capital letters. Be they together, as each on their respective sides.
Back then, one would speak of Deep House, or eventually Garage, as opposed to Soulful House. And at the time, House Music would be given the same consideration as say Hip-Hop or R&B. With the major companies investing in House artists like Lil’ Louis, Larry Heard (Mr. Fingers) or Michael Watford. But also countless UK indie label execs crossing the Atlantic to so to say make their shopping Stateside.
It is to say as to how House Music was seen for a time as a phenomenon that could take on where Disco left a few years before. Even though the situation didn’t last for some reasons, with the major companies turning their back to it by the end of the first half of the 90’s.
Ten City most likely happened to see the light at the right time! On the heels of the memorable ‘Devotion’ which saw the light the same day as Ce Ce Rogers‘s ‘Someday’, they would come to drop an impressive string of absolute masterpieces. Cuts such as ‘That’s The Way Love Is’, ‘Where Do We Go’ and ‘Devotion’. Not to mention ‘Right Back To You’, therefore making of their 1989 ‘Foundation’ album a quintessential purchase.
Quite incredible to see what producer Marshall Jefferson managed to do in terms of arrangements. Speaking of a man who didn’t have a single clue as to how a keyboard worked a few months before! As for Byron Stingily, he brought the falsetto singing back to unsuspected heights. In the footsdteps of the legendary Sylvester…
Quite interesting to note that Shep Pettibone used the bassline of ‘Right Back To You’ on his remix of the Thompson Twins‘ ‘In The Name Of Love 88’ soon after.
Ten City saw the light in the second half of the 80’s in Chicago, IL. Formed by vocalist Byron Stingily, guitarist Herb Lawson, and keyboard player Byron Burke, the group originally started as Ragtyme.
Stingily met Marshall Jefferson at Trax Records after he heard him singing on the obscure ‘Funny Love’ by Dezz 7. Both of them layered a few unreleased songs before coming up with ‘Devotion’. The latter to the attention of Atlantic Records who offered to sign Stingily as a solo artist. He nevertheless refused and finally brought his collegues as a part of the deal.
Ten City released their debut-album – ‘Foundation’ – back in 1989. A solid collection which featured the classic ‘Devotion’ and ‘Right Back To You’ among others. ‘State Of Mind’ followed the year after, including gems such as ‘Whatever Makes You Happy’ , ‘Superficial People’ and ‘Nothing’s Changed’.
By 1992, the trio had parted way with Marshall Jefferson and released ‘No House Big Enough’. This would be their final album with EastWest/Atlantic. An album which saw them working with David Morales on the memorable ‘My Piece Of Heaven’. One of its highlights along with ‘Only Time Will Tell’.
A last album – ‘That Was Then, This Is Now’ – followed back in 1994 on Columbia Records. But despite the presence of the outstanding ‘Fantasy’ and ‘Say Something’ (co-written with Kerri Chandler), Ten City disappeared from the radars soon after. Not because the buzz had gone, according to Discogs. But most likely because the major companies had already started getting rid of the House artists.
Stingily pursued a successful career from then. Meanwhile Byron Burke had sporadical releases soon after. The group eventually reunited on stage for Stingily‘s Bday Bashback in 2015. This givin’ space for rumors of a possible return to recording activities, although nothing’s been confirmed as of yet…
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