Wednesday, October 03, 2007

About To Throw Down


Rick James "Standing On The Top" (Throwin' Down, 1982)

Rick James "69 Times" (Throwin' Down, 1982)

1982's Throwin' Down found Rick sporting a loin cloth on it's cover, an axe shaped bass guitar at his side. The baclk cover depicted James as a sort of Conan the Barbarian of funk, complete with a damsel in distress he can be seen pulling to safety atop his pedestal. Rick was at the top of his game. The problem was that he was now just repeating the same formula that made Street Songs such a success. "Standing At The Top" is essentially a Temptations track that merely features Rick James. But James' formula for success was hard to deny. "69 Times" was a "Super Freak" retread, but who really cared when you were dancing at New York's infamous Studio 54 with Bianca Jagger and a young Leslie Ann Warren. The world was now Rick James' oyster, and he was doing gargantuan amounts of blow off that oyster every day.

Throwin' Down reflected Rick's new outlook on success. That is, he got there by becoming a sort of "warrior of funk" (not to be confused with the "Renegades Of Funk"). A rhyme by Rick in the sleeve of the record backs up this idea:

Follow the path I have laid on this ground
And all battles you'll win, by just throwin' down

footnote: Rick thanks the Buffalo Bills in the liner notes.

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