Sunday, October 28, 2007

Two Shots

"Burnin' for Another Shot" is the only record ever put out by MC Connection*, and not much really seems to be known about them. They name-check themselves, so we know they're MC Lonestar and MC Money, and the writing credits on the label only suggest that their last names are Randolph and Robinson (that's assuming the MCs wrote their own material). The one name in the credits we do know something about (though less than you'd expect) is the third writer and sole producer of this record, John Robie. John Robie was a member of Planet Patrol, and worked on a number of similar style records around this time, usually in collaberation with Arthur Baker. But where Baker continued to make records, do interviews, and develop an online presence (he has his own website as well as a myspace), John Robie seems to has silently disappeared from the music scene.

One notable hit that John Robie wrote and produced is "One More Shot" by C-Bank.

"Burnin' for Another Shot" is... not quite an answer record like we know them today (a la "No Pigeons" or PreC.I.S.E. MC's "So You Think You Got Em Locked"), but simply a rap version of "One More Shot," something that was very in vogue at the time (a la "Planet Rock" being a rap version of "Play At Your Own Risk," "The Erotic City Rapp" as to Prince's "Erotic City," or even MC Boob's "Do the Fila" as to Joeski Love's "Pee Wee Dance"). In fact, the b-side to "Burnin' for Another Shot" is actually "One More Shot (Instrumental)," credited to C-Bank rather than MC Connection. Not that there's really much of a difference, anyway - except for dropping a keyboard solo and posibly a few sound effects, the instrumentals are the same. And, for the record, that keyboard is missing from the instrumental mix of the original C-Bank 12", too.

So, how is this record? Well, as I said, the production is essentially identical, which inthiscase is a good thing,because Robie's work on "One More Shot" was cutting edge. Now, the original version of "One More Shot" featured vocals by Jenny Burton who, largely off the strength of this single, went on to put out a pair of rather tepid solo albums on Atlantic. On this song, her voice sounds a bit weak (possibly partially the fault of being undermixed) and doesn't really take off until the chorus. So replacing her with two boisterous rappers definitely breathes some welcome energy to the track. And me being a lifelong hip-hop head, it's probably a forgone conclusion which version I'll prefer, anyway (although possibly the ideal "Shot" would feature the MCs doing the majority of the vocals, but retaining Jenny Burton on the hook). And if you're reading this blog, I'm guessing the same conclusion can be reached about you. ;)

The lyrics are simple and the delivery is rudimentary - even for '83 - with both MCs mostly shouting their lyrics together in unison, only ocassionally breaking out for a little back and forth exchange or two... not unlike, again, "Planet Rock." I don't know if the MCing is ever so compelling that we should mourn the lack of a follow-up from MCs Lonestar and Money; but certainly anyone looking for an old school good time can't be disappointed by giving this dollar bin classic a spin.


*There were a few releases in the early 90's put out by an "M.C. Connection" ("Work dat Pigtail" and a song called "Ridiculous Bass" on a compilation titled Knowledge Is Power), but judging by the names in the writing credits (Green, Nance, Doland and Powell), the label (one doesn't say, but the other is from Michigan), the year, etc etc... I'm pretty sure these are not the same guys.

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