Published Oct 30, 2009Sure the leaves are falling from the trees and the wind becomes colder every day, making harsh economic times feel so much worse. But there is an antidote: A song which defined the early 80s recession is back to make us dance our troubles away one more time.
"Barely Breaking Even" was a bonafide anthem upon its release in 1982. The disco/club music production team of Leroy Burgess, Patrick Adams and Greg Carmichael were responsible for many classic workouts in the late 70s and early 80s which paved the way for House music later on. Their own work was quite intricate, perhaps the symphonic soul of Black Ivory in which Burgess and Adams first explored their musical ideas during the early 70s continued to be an influence on their well crafted tracks. Between Adams' predeliction for sharp, squiggly synth lines (which have gained latter day influence in today's synth riff-driven dance music), Burgess' soulful vocals, and Carmichael's left-field production, "Barely Breaking Even" continues to sound futuristic and soulful.
A new mix of this tune has surfaced by the redoubtable John Morales, remixer to the stars during the 80s. He took on work by the Rolling Stones, Miami Sound Machine and Hall And Oates to create some of the decades most definitive sounds. He untangles all the various elements of the Universal Robot Band's original tune, spooling out its invention over thirteen minutes.
A double disc compilation entitled, "John Morales: The M & M Mixes," (the other M having been Sergio Munzibai) is due for release on January 19. Featuring the team's unreleased mixes of classic NYC boogie tunes of the 80s on one disc, the other disc is devoted to Salsoul artists from the same period. The label in charge of the reissue, London's BBE Records, owes its name to this very song.
Download Universal Robot Band "Barely Breaking Even" (Club Version) here.