B. T. Express

B.T. Express (originally named Brooklyn Transit Express) was an American funk/disco group that had a number of successful songs during the 1970s.[1]

B.T. Express
OriginBrooklyn, New York, United States
GenresFunk, disco, soul
Years active1974–1987
LabelsScepter Records, Roadshow Records, Columbia Records, Coast To Coast Records (division of CBS/Columbia Records), Earthtone Recording Company, King Davis Records

BackgroundEdit

According to a Record World article in March, 1975, the King Davis House Rockers begat The Madison Street Express which begat Brothers Trucking which begat B.T. Express. At the time the group consisted of Rich Thompson on lead guitar and Bill Risbrook on tenor saxophone who were the nucleus of King House Rockers. Also in the group were Louis Risbrook on bass who was the brother of Bill on solo flute, alto sax, piccolo and clarinet. There was also Olando T. Woods on drums and singer Barbara Joyce Lomas. The latest member was Dennis Rowe on congas. Carlos Wards who was born in Panama had played with The John Coltrane Octet, Don Cherry, Pharoah Sanders, and McCoy Tyner.[2] Barbara Joyce Lomas who came from Alabama had been with the Uptights and sang on their single, "Free At Last" b/w "You Git’s None Of This", released on Skye Records SKYE 4525.[3][4]

BeginningsEdit

The group was part of the "Brooklyn sound" of the early 1970s, formed from three players of the group King Davis House Rockers.[5] The House Rockers were a local dance band who had released a couple of obscure singles (1967's "We All Make Mistakes Sometimes" on Verve Records, 1972's "Rum Punch")[5][citation needed]

The single, "Baby You Satisfy Me" b/w "We All Make Mistakes Sometimes" was credited to King Davis House Rockers featuring Richard Thomas, and was released on Verve VK 10492 in February 1967.[6][7] In 1969, the King Davis produced "What Do I Have To Do" b/w "We All Make Mistakes Sometimes", credited to Rick Thompson was released on Columbia 4-44880.[8][9][10] There was also a single by The Visitors, "Holiday in Love" b/w "Rum Punch" which was released on Airways LK-2000. It was composed by L. Risbrook, C. Ward and C. Stephenson. It was co-produced by Stephenson and King Davis.[11] It was also released on Straker's Records S-0046 with "Rum Punch" as the A side.[12][13]

The three players (guitarist Richard Thompson, tenor sax player Bill Risbrook, and alto sax player Carlos Ward) formed Madison Street Express along with bassist Louis Risbrook (later Muslim-monickered Jamal Rasool), percussionist Dennis Rowe, drummer Terrell Wood, and vocalist Barbara Wood.[14]

CareerEdit

The members of Madison Street Express along with producer Jeff Lane signed with production company Roadshow Records to record writer Billy Nichols "Do It ('Til You're Satisfied)". The record was shopped around to major labels until it was accepted at Scepter Records. Scepter suggested the group change its name from Madison Street Express, hence the Brooklyn Transit Express.[14] The single was released in August 1974, and reached the top 10. Lane took the group back into the studios at that point to record a second single and pitch a full album to the label. Scepter agreed to the LP and to Roadshow Records having its own label within Scepter Records.[14]

The first two singles were hits, both number 1 R&B releases and both Top 5 pop singles in the US.[15] The album hit number 1 on the R&B album chart and number 5 on the Pop album chart of the US.[15] These recordings were also hits in the spreading disco culture, "Do It" peaking on club playlists before Billboard started a separate disco chart, but the follow-up single sat for five weeks at number 1.[15] They were certified gold releases.[16]

BT Express released an album per year through 1978. With the third album, Leslie Ming was brought in as drummer and Michael Jones was added as keyboardist. Jamal, who had converted to Islam, gave Jones the name Kashif Saleem, which he used after departing the group, in 1979, to pursue producing ("Mighty M Productions" with Morrie Brown and Paul Laurence Jones) and solo recording ventures. That year songwriter Billy Nichols and drummer Leslie Ming also departed the group.[17] In 1976 Scepter records was experiencing business difficulties that soon ended the company, and BT Express was given a distribution deal with Columbia Records, which, though it gave them greater exposure, resulted in less attention being paid to their production, since they had so many acts to concentrate on.[14] The group did not achieve the level of radio or sales success on Columbia that they had on the more nurturing but by-then defunct Scepter. They stayed with Columbia for five years, with Lane producing through 1978, then Nichols producing their fifth album before he departed for solo work, and Morrie Brown producing the sixth LP and several follow-up tracks. The group switched labels to Coast To Coast Records for the 1982 LP, to Earthtone Records for a later 1982 single, and to manager King Davis' own label in 1985.

Michael Jones, later known as Kashif died at his home in the Playa del Rey neighborhood of Los Angeles, on September 25, 2016, at age 59.[18]

MembersEdit

Original lineupEdit

  • Richard “Rick” Thompson ... guitar, vocals
  • Bill Risbrook ... tenor saxophone, flute, vocals
  • Terrell Wood ... drums
  • Barbara Joyce Lomas ... vocals
  • Carlos Ward ... alto sax, flute, piccolo, woodwind
  • Dennis Rowe ... percussion
  • Louis Risbrook
    (later known as Jamal Rasool) ... bass, vocals

[19][20]

Discography (USA)Edit

Early related singles
Act Release Catalogue Year Notes #
King Davis House Rockers
featuring
Richard Thomas
"Baby You Satisfy Me" / "We All Make Mistakes Sometimes" Verve VK 10492 1967 [6][7]
Rick Thompson "What Do I Have To Do" / "We All Make Mistakes Sometimes" Columbia 4-44880 1969 [8][9][10]
The Visitors "Holiday in Love" / "Rum Punch" Airways LK-2000 [11]
The Visitors "Rum Punch" / "Holiday in Love" Straker's Records S-0046 [12][13]
Singles
Release Catalogue Year Notes #
" Do It ('Til You're Satisfied)" / "Do It ('Til You're Satisfied) Part II" Scepter SCE 12395 1974
"Express" / "Express (Disco Mix)" Roadshow RD 7001 1975
"Give It What You Got" / "Peace Pipe" Roadshow RD 7003 1975
"Close To You" / "Whatcha Think About That?" Roadshow RD 7005 1975
"Can't Stop Groovin' Now, Wanna Do It Some More" / "Herbs" Columbia 3-10346 1976
"Energy To Burn" / "Make Your Body Move" Columbia 3-10399 1976
"Funky Music (Don't Laugh At My Funk)" / We Got It Together" Columbia 3-10582 1977
"Shout It Out" / "Ride On B.T." Columbia 3-10649 1977
"What Do You Do In The Dark" / "You Got Something" Columbia 3-10752 1978
"Give Up The Funk (Let's Dance)" / "Better Late Than Never" Columbia 1-11249 1980
"Does It Feel Good" / "Have Some Fun" Columbia 1-11336 1980
"Let Yourself Go" / "Cowboy Dancer" Coast to Coast ZS5 02630 1981
"Keep It Up" / "Dancin' Dream" Coast to Coast ZS5 02994 1982
"Star Child (Spirit Of The Night)" / "Just Can't Stop Dancin'" Coast to Coast ZS4 03246 1982
"Hangin' Out" / "Hangin' Out (Instrumental)" Earthtone ET-7003 1983
"Express" / "Do It ('Til You're Satisfied)" Collectables COL. 3843 ?

[21][22]

Compilation albums
Release Catalogue Year Notes #
Greatest Hits Columbia JC 36923 1980
Golden Classics Collectables COL-CD-5190 1989
The Best of B.T. Express Rhino R2 72735, A 28585 1997 Compact disc

[23]

Chart historyEdit

Studio albumsEdit

Year Title Peak chart positions Certifications Record label
US
[24]
US
R&B

[24]
AUS
[25]
CAN
[26]
1974 Do It ('Til You're Satisfied) 5 1 43 22 Roadshow/Scepter
1975 Non-Stop 19 1 60 36 Roadshow
1976 Energy to Burn 43 11 90 Columbia
1977 Function at the Junction 111 39
1978 Shout! (Shout It Out) 67 16 59
1980 1980 164 29
1982 Keep It Up 49 Coast to Coast/Roadshow
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

SinglesEdit

Year Title Peak chart positions Certifications Album
US
[24]
US
R&B

[24]
US
Dan

[24]
BEL
[28]
CAN
[26]
GER
[29]
NL
[30]
UK
[31]
1974 "Do It ('Til You're Satisfied)" 2 1 8 29 7 33 18 Do It ('Til You're Satisfied)
"Express" 4 1 1 3 34 34
"That's What I Want for You Baby" 11
1975 "Give It What You Got" (A-side) 31 5 41 Non-Stop
"Peace Pipe" (B-side) 3 56
1976 "Close to You" 82 31 66
"Can't Stop Groovin' Now, Wanna Do It Some More" 52 6 13 Energy to Burn
"Energy to Burn" 37
1977 "Funky Music (Don't Laugh at My Funk)" Function at the Junction
"Shout It Out" 12 90 Shout! (Shout It Out)
1978 "What You Do in the Dark"
1980 "Give Up the Funk (Let's Dance)" 24 22 52 1980
"Does It Feel Good" 76
"Stretch" 51 Greatest Hits
1981 "Let Yourself Go" Keep It Up
1982 "Keep It Up"
"Star Child (Spirit of the Night)"
1983 "Hangin' Out" N/A
"This Must Be the Night"
1994 "Express '94" 67
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Vincent, Ricky (1996). Funk. St Martins Press.
  2. ^ Record World, March 15, 1975 - Page 62 Who In The World: B.T. Express-Non-Stop Hits
  3. ^ Sir Shambling's Soul Heaven - Uptights
  4. ^ Record World, March 15, 1975 - Page 62 Who In The World: B.T. Express-Non-Stop Hits
  5. ^ a b Shapiro, Peter (2006). Soul and R&B. Rough Guide Press.
  6. ^ a b Roots Vinyl Guide - VINTAGE DJ PROMO DEMO 45 RECORD * KING DAVIS HOUSE ROCKERS RICHARD * VERVE #166
  7. ^ a b The MGM Labels: 1961-1982, edited by Michel Ruppli, Ed Novitsky - Page 293
  8. ^ a b Label Discographies - COLUMBIA 4-44000 (45) (USA)
  9. ^ a b Sir Shambling's Deep Soul Heaven - Rick Thompson
  10. ^ a b Popsike - Rick Thompson..What Do I Have To Do...Pre Disco Soul DJ Promo 45 rpm 1960's-70's
  11. ^ a b Popsike - THE VISITORS Holiday In Love ISLANDS FUNK 45
  12. ^ a b Discogs - The Visitors (26) – Rum Punch
  13. ^ a b greencoffeeplus.fr - The Visitors - Holiday In Love / Rum Punch album
  14. ^ a b c d Rounce, Tony (2005). BT Express CD Release (Media notes). Edsel Records.
  15. ^ a b c B.T. Express. "B.T. Express - Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-11-11.
  16. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 355. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  17. ^ "Billy Nichols Music". Billy Nichols Music. Retrieved 2012-11-11.
  18. ^ Caramanica, Jon (October 2, 2016). "Kashif, R&B Singer, Writer and Producer, Dies at 59". The New York Times. Retrieved October 14, 2016.
  19. ^ Hit Records, 1950-1975, By David F. Lonergan - Page 58 1253. Express
  20. ^ Music Republic Magazine, April 7, 2017 - Give Up The Funk: The B.T. Express Anthology 1974 -1982 (Big Break Records) by Simon Redley
  21. ^ Discogs - Discography, Singles & EPs
  22. ^ 45Cat - B.T. Express - Discography, USA
  23. ^ Discogs - B.T. Express, Discography, Compilations
  24. ^ a b c d e "US Charts > B.T. Express". Billboard. Retrieved 2015-03-20.
  25. ^ David Kent (1993). Australian Charts Book 1970—1992. Australian Chart Book Pty Ltd, Turramurra, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  26. ^ a b "CAN Charts > B.T. Express". RPM. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  27. ^ a b c "American certifications – B.T. Express". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  28. ^ "BEL Charts > B.T. Express". VRT. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  29. ^ "GER Charts > B.T. Express". GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 2015-03-21.
  30. ^ "NL Charts > B.T. Express". Dutch Charts. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  31. ^ "UK Charts > B.T. Express". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  32. ^ "Canadian certifications – B.T. Express". Music Canada. Retrieved June 14, 2020.

External linksEdit