It says something that at the height of hip hop culture, when teens in urban America were rapping over samples of James Brown and Kool & The Gang, a couple of blokes in Rotherham, England were dong far less cool things with samples.
It might just be the beat that makes it so awful. While the hip hop beat coming out of America was based around Clyde Stubblefield’s drum break in Funky Drummer – give the drummer some, indeed – on the other side of the Atlantic, the straightforward 4/4 beat that drives Jive Bunny’s music has none of that class. It’s just never-ending, going on and on, rampant like, well, a rabbit.
The actual samples used are quality though – Glen Miller, ‘50s rock n’ roll, ‘70s glam rock – it might not be James Brown, but it ain’t (super) bad either. It’s just the incessant Stars On 45 beat that dates it. Thankfully, once you get past Swing The Mood, the other songs on the album aren’t that hard to listen to, as they don’t all have that fake, driving beat over the top. The glam mix of Do You Wanna Rock is particularly nice, especially when you hear something like T-Rex’s Get It On in all its glory.
When Jive Bunny first came out, I would have been 10 years old. I had the cassette of this album and I seem to recall asking DJs to play it at discos (alongside Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start The Fire, for some bizarre reason). Years later, I used to work alongside the mother of one of the guys behind Jive Bunny – I’m not sure which of the guys it was, but I seem to remember hearing he made a tidy sum off it.
Hit: Swing The Mood
Hidden Gem: Do You Wanna Rock