Anatomy of THE Groove 3/7/14: “We Are On the Move” by Zo!

 

Bass. In Your Face. Not an 8 track….or is it? Pristine audio fidelity aside, Detroit multi instrumentalist and producer Lorenzo “Zo!” Fergeson’s “We Are On the Move” sounds like it’d be right at home coming out of some Kenwood speakers in an early ’80s Trans Am with T-Tops. The song begins deep in some funk, with a  taut yet nimble bass guitar line stepping in velvet slippers over rock solid drums, establishing a funky strut up the yellow brick road before it meets it’s companions for the voyage, beautiful Rhodes piano chords, strings, percussions, and a rhythm guitar that acts like smelling salts to a punch drunk boxer – makes you get UP! By the time it reaches the first go round of the chorus you’re dancing there (or bopping, or snaking, or just groovin’, but sitting is out of the question) wondering how somebody can create this type of early ’80s but right now funk vibe in 2014?

The pedegree of the artists in question would provide a hint. Zo! is a member of the Foreign Exchange, who’s last album, “Love in Flying Colors”, was one of the freshest examples of quality, song constructed, danceable R&B/Funk/Soul love songs this writer has heard for forever. Lead vocals are handled by Neo-Soul master Eric Roberson, and he sings in a straight, direct emotional way that any man singing this ditty to his lady should be able to muster. And it’s worth mustering too, “There are times in the night/when I wish to spend/time after time/looking deep within/but if there’s a girl/to bring me out of my shell/it’s you”, goes one of my favorite lyrics. “We Are on the Move” is a buyount, funky, sophisticatedly hip song of appreciation for that special someone who makes your life better, and it imagines an even better life in the future, with music and lyrics that make that point and then deliver on it, in real, sweaty, happy terms. MC/Vocalist Phonte gets involved here in back grounds, as does singer Gwen Bunn and percussionist Brevan Hampton, and they give the song an orgiastic, gospel Afro dance joy climax. “We are On the Move” is the type of song I could wake up every morning too, and much like Mr. Pharrell Williams recent smash, “Happy”, actually live to, based on the inspiration it provides in both lyric and groove.

And the video! Wow. Zo! Roberson and Phonte all strut down the street sharper than rat turds, yes, that’s sharp on both ends, in the manner of the Whispers in their classic “Keep on Loving Me” video. The Whispers vid is one of my favorite, four super well dressed black men strutting and stepping in downtown LA near dusk. There is really nothing quite like it in the catalog of American music images, and the dudes have big fun recreating it here. Have fun grooving to this song and then be sure to check out Zo!’s album, ManMade, for more good feeling music.

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1 Comment

Filed under Funk

One response to “Anatomy of THE Groove 3/7/14: “We Are On the Move” by Zo!

  1. Wonderful description of the song,especially with the use of the lyrically soulful Smokey Robinson-like metaphorical descriptions of the instrumentation. Also wonderful that you bought out the musical pedigree of the artists involved in relation to what the song says lyrically and instrumentally.

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