1-2 Weeks


Keni Burke's seminal Changes yielded the eternal club classic "Risin' To The Top". Changes, first released in 1982 on RCA, is something truly special. It's a masterpiece of sophisticated '80s groove, containing first class funky soul that sounds as fresh as ever. This is multi-tempo soul music conceived in heaven. Ace bass player, songwriter, arranger and producer, Keni Burke was discovered by Curtis Mayfield and a childhood member of the Five Stairsteps. Emanating from that magical '81-83 era and pristinely recorded at Philadelphia's legendary Sigma Sound Studios, his third solo album Changes really perfected Keni's groove. It incorporated tight, snappy rhythm arrangements which, despite the era, featured real drums courtesy of Steve Ferrone (from Average White Band) to complement Keni's meaty bass lines. With Dean "Sir" Gant on synths and keyboards and Ed Walsh handling the Vocoder-OBX and Prophet 5, wonderful lines from Earth, Wind & Fire's legendary horn section and hooky rhythm and lead guitar riffs courtesy of Ed "Tree" Walsh, Keni was truly spoiled for excellence. Doc Gibbs on percussion and Vince Montana on vibes elevate the sensational writing and arrangements. "Risin' To The Top" is undoubtedly the defining crown and lasting legacy of this album. With its instantly captivating bassline, slowly creepin' groove and uplifting lyrics, it was a favorite among both the '80s soul steppers and hip-hop crowd. Big Daddy Kane sampled it for "Smooth Operator", LL Cool J for "Around The Way Girl", Pete Rock & CL Smooth for "Take You There", and O.C. with "Born 2 Live". The track which precedes "Risin'" on Side B is another steppers favorite. "One Minute More" is a perfect mid-tempo ballad and the epitome of deep modern soul. It's hard to think of a better song segue than from the intense beauty of "One Minute More" to when "Risin'" elegantly stirs into action. The propulsive, bass-heavy opener "Shakin" is an indisputable cracker and it's followed by the timeless mid-tempo class of "Hang Tight". "Can't Get Enough" is another emotional, horn heavy chugger. The side closes with the sparse, tender, floating slow jam "Who Do You Love"; a truly divine ballad. The B-side beings with the title-track, "Changes", a squelchy, melodic boogie banger with fantastic keys, incredible vocals, ace shuffling percussion, and spacey synths. It's followed by the ultimate one-two in "One Minute More" and "Risin'" before this sensational set closes with the glorious easy glide "All Night". An absolutely essential record for fans of deeply soulful modern-funk. Mastered for vinyl by Simon Francis. Cut by Cicely Balston for Alchemy at AIR Studios.