This one’s funky, nasty, and more than a little creepy.
Taking a cue from Rick James and his self-proclaimed mix of “Punk Funk”, jazz percussionist Bill Summers and his group, Summers Heat, took New Wave to their formerly jazz-fusion heart and released the trashy single “Seventeen” in 1982, a tender ode about a 35-year old dude and his young – very young – object of lust/affection.
Adopting the famous talk-singing of New Wave against a serious bassline, Summers makes like the love child of George Clinton and David Byrne as he trades mash notes with a female vocalist doing her best Missing Persons impression while she notes all the great things about dating a man more than twice her (jailbait) age:
He’s rich, single and free
(Has all the things she needs)
Home, job, respectability
Our life together is different
(They make the heads turn)
Why us? We haven’t done a thing!
No one knows us better
He loves like a dream
Why should I wait to get older?
(You’re only seventeen!)
Strangely enough, Bill Summers’ long list of impressive percussion credits and his official discography page mention every album but this one. Imagine that! Ah, but the Internet and fans of sleazy New Wave & Funk have long memories, Bill…it was a different time! Embrace it! I was 14 years old when this was released and somehow it seemed more innocent then.
You better believe it’s out of print.
“Seventeen” did not chart.
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