Zapp I/Zapp II/Zapp III
August 30 - September 5, 2020
Year of Release: 2016
Disc One:More Bounce To The Ounce
Brand New Player
More Ounce To The Bounce
Playin' Kinda Ruff
Heartbreaker (Part I)
I Can Make You Dance (Part I)
Playin' Kinda Ruff
Do Wa Ditty (Blow That Thing)
Do You Really Want An Answer
A Touch Of Jazz
(Playin Kinda Ruff)
(Part I And Part II)
I Can Make You Dance
Play Some Blues
Spend My Whole Life
We Need The Buck
Tut Tut Jazz
Do Wa Ditty
(Blow That Thing) (Live)
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Now, THIS, IS "Old Skool." THIS, IS, R&B. THIS, IS Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop, back in the late 1970s/early '80s? If there was a group that would define GOOD, BLACK,
R&B MUSIC, it would be the funky sounds of Zapp. Led by the Troutman brothers, Terry "Zapp" and Roger. Zapp was also known as the Zapp Band, or Zapp & Roger.
Their sound was trademark through the use of the talk-box effect. Sure, Stevie Wonder had this too. Yet, Zapp focused on this sound effect as their main source
in their music. Their funky sound was also the highlight, compared to the early years of Prince. Sad to mention, that both Terry and Roger lives' ended tragically.
The date was APril 25, 1999. Although not exactly how it happened, but it was mentioned that the two brothers were having a dispute. The result was a murder-suicide.
Roger Troutman was fatally wounded by his brother Larry. Roger was shot several times by Larry, as Larry left the recording studio. A short distance away,
Larry was found in a car, in a result of his own suicide, a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Larry had been having financial problems. He had been
managing the family-run housing company, Troutman Enterprises. This company had declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, owing $400,000 in tax. Larry may have been bitter
with Roger, as he was fired by Roger, being the manager of his career. Larry had this position for several years.
My introduction to Zapp's music was their hit "More Bounce To The Ounce" in my Radio and TV class in high school. We were assigned to create a radio
show, as our teacher made his own "group of students" to create the show. One of the songs in the "group" I was in, was Zapp's "More Bounce To The Ounce."
At the time, I had never heard of Zapp, as my opinion of this song was mixed. I had already heard of other funk groups such as The Gap Band, which I enjoyed.
But years later, in learning more of Zapp's music, was their Zapp And Roger's Greatest Hits. Their version of " I Heard It Through The Grapevine"
(a Roger-solo version) really got my attention. (I had played this version many times, on my internet radio shows.) So, in wanting to hear even more of Zapp &
Roger's music, the release of Zapp & Roger's original albums on CD was the next step.
Robinsongs released the first three Zapp albums on CD - Zapp (1980), Zapp II (1982), and Zapp III (1983). Funk and R&B doesn't get better
than this. From their first album, the biggest hit was "More Bounce To The Ounce." Their next two (and last) albums were also released on CD from Robinsongs
as a two-fer: The New Zapp IV U (1985) and Zapp Vibe (1989). Roger would release albums of his own, as, once again, Robinsongs would release his
albums on CD, as all three of his albums were released as one CD set: The Many Facets Of Roger (1981), The Saga Continues (1984), and Unlimited
(1987). An incredible amount of great funky music by Zapp, we could imagine what other music they would make, if that tragic event had never happened.
The talk-box effect is the highlight of their songs. "More Bounce To The Ounce" being the best one. "Funky Bounce" also has it. "Be Alright"
was the second single from the first album. It is more on the R&B side, compared to the Commodores. "Freedom" compares to the funk of Rick James. Coming
Home" is an upbeat R&B number.
But what makes this 3-albums as one CD set are the bonus tracks - shorter versions of various tracks. Most funk albums released back in the late 1970s/early
'80s included long versions of tunes that were close to 8 minutes or more. Therefore, the shorter versions (known as single versions) were played on radio.
Likewise, the shorter single versions would be the ones you would find on Greatest Hits/Best Of compilations. From Zapp I: "More Bounce To The
Ounce" (single version). From Zapp II: "Dance Floor," "Playin' Kinda Ruff" (single versions). From Zapp III: "Heartbreaker"
(Part I)" and "I Can Make You Dance" (Part I). All of these tracks ends the first disc (of two).
Bonus Tracks: "Dance Floor" has the talk-box effect, a song that easily compares to the likes of Prince, from his album 1999. Another great
tune, next to "More Bounce To The Ounce." The same can be said on "Playin' Kinda Ruff," another great funky tune (this was NOT on Zapp And Roger's
Greatest Hits, but should be). "Heartbreaker" is another greatest hit, talk-box and all. "I Can Make You Dance" is a very HAUNTING sounding (and
great) funky track!
Starting the second disc, is Zapp II, and (the long versions) of "Dance Floor" and "Playin' Kinda Ruff." "Do Wa Ditty (Blow That Thing)"
is another great talk-box funky tune! "Do You Really Want An Answer" is more of an R&B sounding track, rather than the common funky beats of well-known Zapp
tracks. "Come On" has a Rick James feel. "A Touch Of Jazz (Playin' Kinda Ruff)" (Part II) is another version of "Playin' Kinda Ruff." The
touch of jazz are the guitars, but it's still funky.
Next, is Zapp III, as the long versions of "Heartbreaker" (Part I and Part II) and the haunting "I Can Make You Dance." "Play Some
Blues" is nothing like the Blues. It's another great Prince'ish track, funky and all. There's a harmonica in there, and that's as Blues as it will get.
"Spend My Whole Life" is more of an R&B soft-ballad. Another R&B-sounding track gets "We Need The Buck." "Tut Tut Jazz" could pass as a
smooth jazz track, with R&B mixed. It's actually an instrumental, and a very good one. Ending the second disc, is another bonus track, a live version of "Do Wa
Ditty (Blow That Thing)." Surprisingly, it's a very short track, one minute in length.
As tragic as how Zapp and Roger ended their lives, their music lives on. If you enjoy funk music at it's best, the original albums of Zapp are worth it.
Other than the huge hit "More Bounce To The Ounce," "I Can Make You Dance" and the great jazzy instrumental "Tut TUt Jazz" are standouts.
Also, the funky (Prince'ish) tunes are also standouts. Zapp is great, funky club dance tracks to enjoy and discover. Discover the music of Zapp and Roger.
Long live their incredible music.
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