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  Patrick Adams
 

 

 

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The king of underground disco, Patrick Adams has been responsible for dozens of classic tunes like "Touch Me," "Keep On Jumpin'," "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," and "Weekend."  He has also produced pioneering work under the Cloud One and Bumblebee Unlimited monikers to compliment his chart successes.  As a writer, arranger, producer and engineer he's worked with artists as diverse as Herbie Mann, Eric B & Rakim, Sister Sledge, Jocelyn Brown and Leroy Burgess.  With over 30 gold records to his name, he ranks as one of the most prolific and influential artists of the last 30 years of dance music, but he always tends to be overshadowed by the mainstream disco trinity of the Bee Gees, Donna Summer, and Chic.  Nevertheless, those in the know recognize Adams' brilliance and his records are highly sought after and frequently covered or sampled. 

Adams was born and raised in uptown New York City and was an instrumentalist by his teen years.  In 1970 he landed a job as the Vice-President of A&R at Today, the r&b wing of Perception Records. It was there that he met future partner Leroy Burgess, then a member of soul trio Black Ivory.  Adams signed them and worked on their Don't Turn Around album, which was a modest hit in 1971.   Adams eventually found Burgess to be one of his most consistent collaborators and frequently featured him on his projects.

In 1974 Adams left Perception to begin his own company, PAP Music.   He landed gigs working on the debut albums of Sister Sledge and Tony Silvester, but it was through forming his P & P label with Peter Brown that he was truly able to flex his creative muscle.  Without any limitations on his ideas, he worked on a series of heavily arranged, keyboard laden tunes with a dancefloor emphasis. Eventually naming the project Cloud One, "Atmosphere Strut" hit the streets in 1975 and nothing would ever be the same.  Never before had a record captured the breezy, joyous feeling of a disco party so accurately.  Disco cognoscenti loved it, but the mainstream audience didn't get a chance to catch on, largely because of limited distribution.  The album of the same name was a tour de force and instant classic as it covered a wide array of emotions from the mellow "Dust to Dust" to the sweeping energy rush of "Disco Juice," now established as one of the all-time classics.

Most artists would be happy to just coast after such a great record; instead, Adams went right into developing the P & P roster, dropping incessant bombs on listeners with each release. Around this time he found yet another creative spirit in Greg Carmichael, and wrote "Dance and Shake Your Tambourine" for his Universal Robot Band outfit. This track spotlighted the crazed moog solos that were the Patrick Adams trademark.

His reputation contined to grow as he secured work with the Prelude, Salsoul and Atlantic labels.  Following a relatively quiet 1977 (producing Narada Michael Walden), he went to the next level in 1978, perhaps his greatest year as "In the Bush" and "Keep On Jumpin'" for Musique and  "Weekend" by Phreek all hit the charts.  But his best work may have been his remolding of stodgy jazzer Herbie Mann, making his Super Mann a disco delight that was named Record World's record of the month. 

As the 1980s rolled around, Adams re-activated the Inner Life name with a strong version of the Motown chestnut "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" with Jocelyn Brown on lead vocals.  Very well-received, the single was remixed by Larry Levan.  Fonda Rae was the beneficiary of "Over Like a Fat Rat" and "Touch Me," which found new life via Cathy Dennis' cover in 1991.  For that song, Adams was awarded the songwriter of the year award.

He moved on to the more technical side of the music, engineering albums from Salt N Pepa and Eric B & Rakim among others.  Today, his music is being reissued and he is working with new talent in addition to doing some compositions for video games.

Patrick Adams' Deepest Grooves

Atmosphere Strut - Cloud One (P & P, 1975)
A deep classic.  More moog than you can shake a stick at!  I have yet to find a person not thrilled with this album after hearing it.  

Keep on Jumpin' - Musique (Prelude, 1978)
This song has been sampled to death.  Todd Terry recut it with Jocelyn Brown and Martha Wash on lead.

Patrick Adams presents Phreek (Atlantic, 1978)
The closest Adams got to a true solo release, this has Christine Wiltshire's luscious vocals on "Weekend" and Leroy Burgess belting out "Much Too Much." 

Super Mann - Herbie Mann (Atlantic, 1978)
Quite possibly one of the most surprising disco albums of all time and home to at least three classics in "Stomp Your Feet," "Superman," and "Django."  Really not a weak moment here, as Herbie merely lays back and lets Patrick Adams work his magic. 

Musique II (Prelude, 1979)

Disco Juice: The Funky Disco Sound of Harlem's P & P Records (Harmless, 2000)
Essential set of ultra-rarities from his label.  It's almost assured that you'd never see the originals, so purchase is a no-brainer for Adams fans.

Very Best of Cloud One and Bonus Tracks (21st Century Music, 2000)
The first (only?) two Cloud One albums plus a second disc of related tracks.  Some overlap with the Disco Juice collection but still worth it for the previously unavailable material.

Copyright 2001 B. Graff.  All rights reserved.

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