Monday, August 13, 2018

"Everybody Dance" by Ta Mara and the Seen

Song#:  2494
Date:  10/12/1985
Debut:  87
Peak:  24
Weeks:  21
Genre:  R&B, Dance, Electro-Funk

Pop Bits:  Early in 1985, former member of The Time Jessie Johnson happened to catch a show by a new Minneapolis band called The Seen. He liked what he saw and wanted to take them under his wing. With clout he built up at his label (A&M) thanks to a successful debut solo album, Johnson got them signed. Using a Prince-ly move, Johnson gave lead singer Margie Cox the new name of Ta Mara and adjusted the band's name accordingly. He then set out to produce and co-write a self-titled debut album with the band. This track was selected to be the LP's first single and it did quite well at R&B getting to #3. It also fared well at Dance reaching #9. The song was then able to cross over to the Pop chart where it made it into the Top 30. The album was a modest seller, but the results encouraged A&M to spring for a follow-up album (with Johnson still working with them) in 1988 titled Blueberry Gossip. However, the three-year gap seemed to stop the momentum of the band and the album sank without a trace. They broke up soon after.

ReduxReview:  I remember the name of the band, but I don't remember this song at all. Probably because it's not all that great. Johnson was still wearing his Prince/Time influence on his sleeve and this was just another branch on the Minneapolis sound tree, which was becoming a bit boring by this time. I actually preferred the band's follow-up mid-tempo single "Affection" (#19 R&B), which had a bit more R&B flare to it. The Minneapolis sound was gonna stay around for a while, but unless there was something special about a song, I wasn't all that interested.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) After the band split, Margie Cox (Ta Mara) began to work with Prince. She was recruited to front a new band he was developing to potentially be called Flash or MC Flash. Cox recorded around 25 songs with Prince, but the project never got launched. None of the songs would see the light of day until 1994 when Prince released a compilation of artists he had signed or worked with over the years titled 1-800-NEW-FUNK (which was an actual number to call for Prince related products). The track "Standing at the Altar" from the sessions was included on the album and credited to Margie Cox. It was released as a single with the flip side being another track they did, "Whistlin' Kenny." It failed to chart.  2) The guitarist for Ta Mara and the Seen was Oliver Leiber. If that last name seems familiar, it is due to his famous songwriting dad Jerry Leiber. Along with his composing partner Mike Stoller, the elder Leiber wrote a string of hits in the 50s and 60s for artists like Elvis Presley ("Jailhouse Rock"), The Drifters ("There Goes My Baby"), Ben E. King ("Stand By Me"), and many others. Oliver continued in the music business writing and producing. He caught a break when a demo of his was played for a choreographer who wanted to make an album. Paula Abdul loved his song "The Way That You Love Me" and Leiber got hired to produce the song for Abdul's debut album. He would also write and produce the hit singles "Forever Your Girl" and "Opposites Attract." It was also the Leiber connection that got Margie Cox and Jessie Johnson involved in the project as well. A song the pair wrote together titled "I Need You" was picked up by Abdul. Johnson produced the track.


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