Fat Larry's Band
Larry James, namesake of Fat Larry’s Band, is very pleased with his band’s new Fantasy album, Stand Up.
“It’s our best effort to date,’ Larry states emphatically. The band’s favorite selections? “All of them!” says Larry, but particularly “Stand Up,” “Play With Me,” and the single, “Can’t Keep My Hands to Myself,” which was co-written by Larry’s wife Doris James.
Fat Larry’s Band is headed up by drummer Larry, who produces the band and collaborates with Doris in writing much of their material. In past months, Fat Larry’s band (aka FLB) has been a whirlpool of activity, both in the studio and on the road. While there was once a time when FLB played almost exclusively in the Philadelphia area (their home turf), they have recently been touring throughout the
In addition to the band’s endeavors, Larry also produced a portion of Slick’s latest LP (which features his wife as vocalist and songwriter), and has been involved in a lot of writing and studio work for various artists. He and the entire band are delighted with their success, and see themselves as “brightening their horizons” with all of their extracurricular activities.
FLB had its beginnings in 1972. Larry was playing with the Delfonics at the time, and recalls going to see Blue Magic perform at a local Philadelphia club. When Blue Magic’s regular backup band struck out for greener pastures, Larry was also free, having departed the Delfonics organization. He handpicked the members of the band which played behind Blue Magic for the next five years. “We called ourselves the Magic of Blue,” he recollects. “Those were some great years.
“By 1974,” he continues, “we felt the band was ready to record as an individual unit, and fortunately, WMOT Records president Alan Rubens and vice-president Steve Bernstein felt the same way.” At about that time the band decided to take on the name of their leader, and Fat Larry’s Band signed an exclusive contract with WMOT Productions early in ’76.
Their first album was Feel It on WMOT Records, distributed by Atlantic. “It was an all-out, up-and-up disco album. Disco was really happening. But when we made out first record for Fantasy/Stax in 1977 [Off the Wall], it seemed like slower songs were taking off better, so we went more in that direction.”
Lookin’ for Love, FLB’s last album, again highlighted their predilection for upbeat dance music. The LP produced three charted singles: “Here Comes the Sun,” “How Good Is Love,” and the title track.
According to Larry, Stand Up is “more of a message album. With songs like ‘You’ve Got to Help Yourself’ and ‘Stand Up,’ we’re trying to give everyone a little something to relate to.”
Along with Larry on drums, FLB consists of Douglas Slick on trombone, Steve Garand on trumpet, Doug (Khalif) Jones on sax, John Barry on keyboards and synthesizer, guitarists Anthony Middleton and Ted Cohen, bassist Larry LaBes, and percussionists Art Austin and George W. Fairbanks. Many members also double as vocalists.
With a string of successful singles behind them, Fat Larry’s Band have established themselves as one of the most formidable and versatile funk units around. Stand Up should not only solidify their reputation as top r&b artists, but should create excitement on the pop level as well.