Pleasure’s fifth album was a momentous one for the Oregon funk outfit. Over the previous four years they had released an album a year, all of which were aimed to make them serious challengers to acts such as Kool & the Gang. The first three saw a steady build, but the fourth, “Get To The Feeling”, despite some cracking tunes, failed to sell especially well.
Former Crusader Wayne Henderson had signed Pleasure to his production company after a tip-off from saxophonist Grover Washington Jr who had been handed their demo tape after a gig. Signing to the Fantasy label, they unleashed their jazz-laced funk creations to the world. Tracks such as ‘Joyous’, ‘Bouncy Lady’, ‘Let’s Dance’ and ‘Ghettos Of The Mind’ established them as contenders, but did not lead to a breakthrough. After “Get To The Feeling”, they decided to go their own way.
Enlisting Fantasy’s in-house engineer as co-producer, they recorded “Future Now”. The album’s title and space-age cover signalled a change of direction to a more synthesiser-based sci fi-influenced sound – think Parliament and Earth Wind & Fire with their on-stage spaceships – yielding the group’s only big hit, ‘Glide’, which raced to the Top 10.
The success of the single boosted sales of “Future Now” yet created internal tensions that surfaced during the making of their final Fantasy album, but that’s a story for another day.
By Dean Rudland