LOS ANGELES, Sept. 21, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Acid-jazz legends RAMP's one and only album, Come Into Knowledge, which hasn't been pressed on vinyl for a wide release since 1977, is available once again via Verve/UMe. The Roy Ayers, William Allen and Edwin Birdsong-produced album is pressed on black vinyl in a faithful reproduction of the original packaging. Order Come Into Knowledge now: https://UMe.lnk.to/ComeIntoKnowledgePR
Come Into Knowledge was recorded by the Cincinnati-grown, Ayers-curated jazz-funk pioneers before their split that same year. Uniquely, Ayers didn't actually perform in the band he created. Instead, he and fellow funk icon Birdsong carefully cherry-picked top-of-the-line session players to bring their writing contributions to life: Spinners drummer John Manuel and guitarist Landy Shores as the nucleus, Cincinnati bass legend Nate White holding down the groove, and spitfire lead vocalists Sibel Thrasher and Sharon Matthews on the front lines.
As a result, RAMP (an acronym for Roy Ayers Music Productions), hit on a funky alchemy. These are heavily grooving songs of romantic devotion and spiritual clarity — "Heaven and Earth are one, if you can see / You are heaven in reality," Thrashers and Matthews insist on the assertive title track. It was all reflective of Ayers and the groups' mental state at the time. As Manuel put it to Mixcloud, "Roy himself had the essence of being somewhat tuned into worldliness. He inspired the group to be conscious. We wanted it to have a spiritual impact. Goodliness, cleanliness, wholesomeness." The music expands upon and refracts those lofty, ethereal topics — soul's bleeding heart and funk's keening edge as two sides of the same coin.
Come Into Knowledge should have assumed its rightful place as an innovative fusion of funk and soul, but it suffered from a classic case of wrong place, wrong time. Knowledge was originally issued in 1977 on ABC Blue Thumb, the company created when ABC Records' parent company acquired Blue Thumb Records, an adventurous and imaginative imprint helmed by Bob Krasnow, who would later become chairman of Elektra Records and co-found the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the late legendary producer Tommy LiPuma. The short-lived label sadly closed its doors in 1978 following a series of shake-ups, not long after the record was released, leaving the lone RAMP album almost totally obscure.
But crate-diggers begged to differ. Come Into Knowledge would go on to assume a legendary status among the "rare groove" community, to whom Knowledge sounded like a lost masterpiece than bargain-bin material. Its new fans included the likes of A Tribe Called Quest — of whom sampled RAMP's highlight "Daylight" in 1990's "Bonita Applebum," and Common — who borrowed the same song's indelible hook for "Come Close Remix (Closer)," which features Erykah Badu, Pharrell and Q-Tip. Badu herself sampled "The American Promise" on her slyly titled "Amerykahn Promise." Other avowed fans include Mary J. Blige, Jaden Smith and the late PM Dawn.
Ayers is now rightfully seen as a funk-rock pioneer, boasting a massive solo discography that spans over half a century. But Come Into Knowledge remains one of his most underrated gems — and is now out of near-total obsolescence on vinyl for the first time in 41 years. If you'd like a crate-digging classic in your life without paying top dollar for a second-hand copy, Knowledge is here again.
Come Into Knowledge Track Listing
1. The American Promise
2. I Just Love You
3. Give It
4. Everybody Loves The Sunshine
1. Come Into Knowledge
2. Try, Try, Try
4. Look Into The Sky
5. Deep Velvet