Colonel Abrams – You Got Me Running (1982, Tape)
There is a whole lot of claiming who did what when and where first as far as the origins of house music are concerned, and I do not intend to complicate the matter even further. But Colonel Abrams produced an 8-track tape with Boyd Jarvis and Timmy Regisford as early as 1982 which included this, and a lot of the legendary DJs in New York City and Chicago and beyond were rinsing it. Just saying!
Colonel Abrams – Music Is The Answer (1984, Streetwise)
There is a whole lot of claiming who did what when and where first as far as the origins of house music are concerned, and I do not intend to complicate the matter even further. But Colonel Abrams produced and released this track as early as 1984, and even more of the legendary DJs in New York City and Chicago and beyond were rinsing it. Just saying!
Colonel Abrams – Trapped (1985, MCA)
Still a house prototype, but now he paired his inimatibly determined vocal style with the shoulder pads and fierce dance moves of the day and stormed the charts. It was about time!
Colonel Abrams – Speculation (1985, MCA)
The second hit of his breakthrough and glory year. Handclaps galore and another bold funky groove, mixed by NYC club music protagonist Timmy Regisford.
Colonel Abrams – Over And Over (1985, MCA)
A mighty fine demonstration that Colonel Abrams could well navigate his way beyond punchier dancefloor imperatives. A slick and beautiful R&B ballad, both in tune with other productions of mid 80s post-disco reality, yet still very much him doing the own thing he created.
Colonel Abrams – I’m Not Gonna Let (1985, MCA)
This is basically a sequel to „Trapped“, but not a few people would say it is even more irresistible. I am most probably one of many going out to clubs in the mid 80s who observed this did not go away for a long time, and got them all dancing everytime it was played. And it still does.
Colonel Abrams – How Soon We Forget (1987, MCA)
Only adding a bit of the piano stylings introduced by the Chicago house producers he paved the way for, Colonel Abrams still rode his sound in 1987. Only by then he faced a lot more competiton in terms of club music, and his efforts to satisfy the pop market with slower R&B tracks suffered from the lack of distinctive hits. Sadly he seemed to get lost in the middle and his promising career slowed down considerably. Still, this is up with what led him there in the first place.
Funktion Feat. Colonel Abrams – As Quiet As It’s Kept (Soul Creation, 1993)
After a failed attempt to revive his career as a soul singer on a 1992 album on the Scotti Bros. Label, Colonel Abrams retreated to being a vocal feature for hire on house records throughout the 90s. Even if his voice still stood out as ever, many of said releases were lacking the potential to re-establish him on a level worthy of his beginnings though. Thankfully he found a fitting production counterpart on a string of records he made with the US Garage dons Smack Productions/Mental Instrum. And yes, this is the original template for DJ Dove’s holy grail „Organized“.
Mental Instrum Feat. C.A. – Should Be Dancin’ (Freetown Inc, 1994)
Another supreme example for the congenial drive and fierceness of the collaborations between Colonel Abrams (his real name actually) and the Smack camp. Eventually there was album compiling their finest moments together, but it also failed to get his career on track again. By this point he settled on guest spots on club music records, or had to, with mixed results. Sadly nobody had the idea to give him the opportunity, team and budget to reinvent himself as the soul singer he should have been, and he vanished from sight in the years to come.
Omar S Presents Colonel Abrams – Who Wrote The Rules Of Love (2011, FXHE Records)
It was one of the most memorable moments of my time working at Berlin’s Hard Wax record store to discover that Omar S had done this record together with Colonel Abrams after the latter’s several years of silence, and then listening to it, floored by how good it was. In a way his career had gone full circle, with beautiful music produced in way that made both the song and his breathtaking voice shine. I was really sure that this record would not be the last time I ever heard him on a new record, but then it was. I was shocked to learn about the troubles he had, and that they eventually led to him passing away, and I cannot separate this song from his incredibly sad story anymore. But what a song!