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RAMP

Come Into Knowledge

(Verve; US: 9 Oct 2007; UK: 15 Oct 2007)

The year was 1977. ABC Records released an album called Come Into Knowledge by a music collective known as RAMP. The acronym spelled out Roy Ayers Music Productions and lived up to its progenitor’s unique blend of jazz and funk. Thirty years later, Verve unearthed the album that had only been sought out by the most die-hard devotees of rare grooves. While the music holds up fairly well, some of the material is brought down by the harsh, sometimes robotic intonations of vocalists Matthews and Thrasher. There’s no denying that tracks like “Give It” and “Try, Try, Try” would set the stage on fire in concert but they’re a tad grating as standalone album tracks. There are reasons to seek the album out though, namely the molten lava funk of “The American Promise”, the Sunday stroll lilt of “Deep Velvet”, and the mellow vibes of the title track, “Look Into the Sky”, and “Everybody Loves the Sunshine”. Doubtless the album inspired a legion of modern-day producers, writers, and DJs, despite the obvious wrinkles of time. Adjust your expectations accordingly and dive in.

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Christian John Wikane is a NYC-based journalist and music essayist. He's a Contributing Editor for PopMatters, where he's interviewed artists ranging from Paul McCartney to Janelle Monae. For the past three years, he's penned liner notes for more than 100 CD re-issues by legends of R&B, rock, pop, dance, and jazz. Since 2008, he's produced and hosted Three of Hearts: A Benefit for The Family Center at Joe's Pub. He is the author of the five-part oral history Casablanca Records: Play It Again (PopMatters, 2009). Follow him on Twitter @CJWikaneNYC. 


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