R&B, Blues, Soul & Stax

VOICES Notes and news on R&B, Blues, Soul & Stax releases

Heavy Hitters

26 APR 10 DAVID NATHAN

Thinking about Two Tons' Get The Feeling, I can still recall the day in 1980 when, working away at my desk in my studio apartment in midtown Manhattan, a song came on the radio that literally forced me to get up out of my chair and begin dancing around the room. The joyous, upbeat sound hitting the airwaves was "Just Us," an infectious anthem from Martha Wash and Izora Armstead, the full-sized duo known then as The Two Tons O' Fun, backup singers for dance/R&B star Sylvester.

I'd seen Two Tons onstage with Sylvester offering unbelievable, gospel-honed harmonies behind the highly unique artist so it was no surprise that they made records of their own. Their Fantasy set includes more than "Just Us," which achieved considerable popularity among disco-goers (reaching No. 2 on the dance music chart and a placing on the R&B charts) and became one of my all time favorite tracks. There is the equally rhythmic "I Got The Feeling" and the stirringly soulful "Taking Away My Space."

Originally titled Two Tons, the release was reissued on CD in '93 with the addition of a few tracks including the one song that would bring international fame to Martha and Izora, the dance classic "It's Raining Men." The reissue is a reminder of the vocal mastery of these two ladies and even now, "Just Us" has me on my feet.