Friday, October 7, 2011

Kleeer - Groove With You

Kleeer was an American New York based funk, disco and post-disco band which was formed in 1972 under the name The Jam Band, as a backup group to different disco bands and vocalists. The group consisted of Woody Cunningham, vocalist/percussionist Paul Crutchfield, guitarist Richard Lee and bassist Norman Durham.

After a switch to the name Pipeline in 1975, the group also decided to switch to making hard rock instead of disco. Record labels competed to sign them but, when they finally ended up at Columbia Records, their single "Gypsie Rider" did not fare well commercially.
In 1976 they got the opportunity to become The Universal Robot Band along with underground disco producers Patrick Adams and Greg Carmichael. This project was more successful than their former projects. They made the single "Barely Breaking Even" alongside singer Leroy Burgess, and they also recorded an album. The group toured as The Universal Robot Band until 1978.

After 1978, the band decided to make all their music themselves under the new name of Kleeer.

Between 1979 and 1985 the group released seven albums and had several hits in the US Billboard Hot 100 and in R&B charts. The most mentionable are "Tonight's the Night", "Winners", "Intimate Connection", and "Get Tough." The sound was now more focused on 1980s style funk, and electronic instruments, like vocoders and synthesizers.
After the 1985's album Seeekret, the band disappeared for unknown reasons. Most of the musicians continued working with other projects. In the 1990s, however, the group re-formed as Kleeer at some occasions.

The group's influence today is best found in many hip hop songs, where DJs have frequently sampled Kleeer, for example by 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, DJ Quik, Lil Jon and The Eastside Boys. "Keeep Your Body Workin", which reached number 54 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play Chart in 1979, was "reworked" into an updated recording by Tony Moran featuring Martha Wash, under the title "Keep Your Body Working." The Moran/Wash version reached number one on the Hot Dance Club Play chart in December 2007.
Woody Cunningham died on January 9, 2010.



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