Keni Burke – 1977 – Keni Burke
An Amazing album all the way through. Highly Recommended.
Definately one on my favs.
Don’t sleep brothers and sisters
Just listen to the clips
Keni Burke is one of the most talented musician/songwriter/vocalist, who never achieved the recognition and success he deserved. His voice was unique, different, and somewhat unusual, but still pleasing to the ear. Keni Burke should have reached the same stardom as one who came after him, dressed in royal purple. Similar to the group he was a part of with his brothers and sister comprising the Five Stairsteps from Chicago, that never came close to achieving the fame of those five boys from Gary who also came after. Every track on this his first solo LP had hit potential, whether it was vocal or instrumental. I found it impossible to pick a favorite song, because they are all my favorite. Keni Burke’s talent was overlooked or missed by many in 1977, but thanks to a reissue many now have the opportunity to discover and enjoy his music.
Born in Chicago, Keni Burke began his career in the 1960’s with brothers James, Clarence, Dennis and sister Alohe in his family group the Stairsteps. Keni was the bass player and when they split up in 1971 he moved to Los Angeles in search of session work.bIn 1974, he toured with Billy Preston who was a friend of ex-Beatle George Harrison.
George met Keni at a time The Stairsteps were discussing a reunion album, and signed the group to his Dark Horse label.The result was one Billy Preston produced album ‘2nd Resurrection‘ including Keni’s song ‘Pasado’ (later recorded by the band Pockets).In 1977, the group split up again, but, determined to succeed as a solo artist, Keni recorded a self-titled solo album for Dark Horse Records.
The album ‘Keni Burke’ (1977), including ‘Keep On Singing‘ and ‘You Are All Mine‘, wasn’t a great success so Keni returned to session work with his bass guitar.
He played with Smokey Robinson, Sly and The Family Stone (‘On The Right Track’, 1979), Terry Callier, Linda Clifford (‘Runaway Love’, 1978), Dusty Springfield, Diana Ross, Ramsey Lewis (‘Routes’, 1980), Gladys Knight, The Four Tops, Curtis Mayfleld, Eugene Record, The Emotions and Bill Withers among many more.
He later recorded two albums for RCA, ‘You’re The Best‘ (1981), including ‘Let Somebody Love You’, ‘Gotta Find A Way Back In Your Heart’, ‘Paintings Of Love’ and ‘Never Stop Loving Me’; and ‘Changes‘ (1982), including ‘Hang Tight’ and ‘One Minute More’.
As a songwriter / producer he has worked with The Jones Girls (1984’s ‘Keep It Comin’ including ‘You Can’t Have My Love’ and ‘Ah Ah Ah Ah’), The O’Jays (‘Put Our Heads Together’), The Whitehead Brothers, Mavis Staples (‘Chocolate City’), The Whispers (co-writing ‘Let’s Go All The Way’), Perri (co-writing ‘I’m The One’, also playing bass on ‘The Flight’), and Bill Withers, he also worked with Polygram group The Drama Club in 1990.
Other bass sessions include the late George Howard’s album ‘Steppin’ Out’, while he also arranged vocals on Peabo Bryson’s, ‘Positive’.
After many years tracking down Keni Burke, U.K. Record Label owner, Ralph Tee persuaded Keni back into the recording studio with the resulting album ‘Nothing But Love‘.
The album was missed by many of the critics although the tune ‘Indigenous Love’ seems to be destined for ‘rare groove’ status in years to come.