Mates’ Crates: KC & The Sunshine Band – I’m Your Boogie Man

Mates’ Crates, a series headed up by our friend Andrei Sandu, dives into the tales behind records and digs deeper into our connections to music. For today’s instalment, classic disco-funk from KC and the Sunshine Band. 

Label: TK Records | Year: 1973 | Discogs: KC And The Sunshine Band – Part 3

More than in other genres, I think there is sometimes a hint (or more) of snobbery to disco – I know I’m guilty of it. ABBA’s “Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie”? Cheese. Bileo’s “You Can Win”? Gold. Ottawan’s “D.I.S.C.O.”? Naff (though Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter’s dad). Mary Gold’s “Dancing”? Heat! (and £547 on Discogs).

I doubt anything by KC And The Sunshine Band has sold for £547 (though their 1975 chart-topper “That’s The Way (I Like It) is certified gold for selling 500,000 units). But none of that makes “I’m Your Boogie Man” any less good.

Formed in 1973 by bassist Richard Finch and singer Harry Wayne Casey (KC), then a part-time employee of Miami music magnate Henry Stone’s TK Records. Of the 100+ labels he set up, TK (co-founded with teen idol Steve Alarm and named after its sound engineer Terry Kane) was the most successful. Across its network of subsidiaries, TK had signed everyone from Bobby Caldwell to Betty Wright; George McCrae to Gwen McCrae; and bargain-bucket staple T-Connection to Drake sample Timmy Thomas.

Casey and Finch soon expanded the lineup to bring in several of TK’s studio musicians, formerly of a group called Oceanliners who played on Ronnie Keaton’s “Going Down For The Last Time” (which does go for hundreds on Discogs). Brought together in Florida – the Sunshine State – KC And The Sunshine Band was formed.

Throughout this period, Casey and Finch also wrote and produced for other artists, most notably George McCrae’s international hit “Rock Your Baby” – one of the first records to use a drum machine. John Lennon acknowledges the chord progression as an inspiration for “Whatever Gets You Through The Night” and ABBA cited its role in shaping “Dancing Queen“.

“I’m Your Boogie Man”, released in 1977 as a single off their third album, is just very good. The group’s success lasted until 1979, as the declining popularity of disco started to bite and TK Records went bankrupt in 1981. Experimentation with other styles produced limited results, though KC climbed the adult contemporary charts with his cover of Barbara Mason’s “Yes I’m Ready”.

KC retired in 1985 but returned in the early nineties as interest in disco music began to grow again. The band re-formed, largely with new members, and various configurations have continued touring since.