Steve Arrington, Way Out (80-84)

Dan Epstein

By Dan Epstein

on 09.30.14 in Reviews
A bountiful trawl through Arrington’s early solo endeavors

The drummer-turned-vocalist of Slave during the legendary Dayton, Ohio, funk band’s commercial peak, Steve Arrington enjoyed a fruitful solo career in the 1980s before leaving music for the ministry in 1990. Now, on the heels of his welcome return to secular soul funk (in the form of 2013′s Dam-Funk-assisted Higher) comes this bountiful two-disc trawl through Arrington’s early solo endeavors, Way Out (80-84). There are many essential jams here — “Summertime Lovin’” and “Special FX From Mars” and the slamming, Slave-backed solo tracks Arrington released on a Salsoul 12-inch in 1980, as well as numerous hard-stomping, oft-sampled highlights (“Way Out,” “Weak at the Knees,” “Beddie Biey,” “Nobody Can Be You,” “Hump to the Bump,” “What Do You Want From Me”) from the underrated Steve Arrington’s Hall of Fame LPs I and Positive Power. Filling out the second disc are several previously unreleased songs from the same period, which Arrington recently discovered in his archives and completed with new vocal tracks and instrumental overdubs. Though Atlantic reportedly rejected the likes of “Without Your Love,” “Funk and Roll Junky” and “Mysterious Woman” at the time as being “too progressive,” they fit in pretty seamlessly with the rest of Arrington’s superbly funky legacy.