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Turnin' da Tables

By Jimi Bruce

There were many magical moments for me at Dj Times' International Expo 2000 such as the time an angel found  TWO 12" copies of JoiCadwell's "Superstar"(Carpenters, circa 1974) abandoned at one of the phone centers on the third floor, and brought them to me saying, "didn't you forget these?"  I really hadn't but to anyone bringing me the Vinyl, I say "Yes!"  And I love the version she did!; The magic of  "you've got to give to get" idea exchange transcended into the nights across town at Atlantic City's premier nightspot , De'ja' Vu (New York Ave & Boardwalk) as their End Of Summer Bash tied-in with the International Expo 2000. In this interview I will speak with mixers Kenny Bobien & Chris Cox.

Kenny Bobien

JB: We're talking with Kenny Bobien , artist on Soundmen on Wax Records; which I guess is one of those New labels!  Since I'm kinda an ole skool dude, I don't know all these things, but any way

KB: One of the new HOT ones!

JB: See?  Well how are you, where you from?

KB: I'm fine, 'man!

JB:  I was just listen to your soundcheck, and you evoke memories of the Garage an all that from New York's WBLS in it's heyday when we used to mix on the air, so gimme some background on yourself;

KB: Well, I'm from Newark, New Jersey, and I got my start in Newark amaturally I was singing at Zanzibar, they were doing talent shows amd the club was being run by who is now running my company, Mr. Shelton Hayes..

JB: Then you know Tony Humphries , I gather!

KB: A very good friend of mine;  I got my start there, an to make a long story short, I went from I went from there and I started doing background for a lot of people; Adeva, C.C. Rogers, working with Marshall Jefferson..

JB: Really?!

KB: 'Singing on all the records; I sang on the first Ten City record, Foundation..

JB: Really?!  I have all o' their stuff!

KB:  Really?  I sang with my partner Eddie Stockley, you'll see our names on everything!  We worked with Craig Gallman when he had Big Beat Records..

JB:  Time out!  You said Big Beat records and I just want to show you what my Key/Neck chain says;

KB: Big Beat!

JB: Yeah!!

KB: Well before Big Beat was distributed by Atlantic Records, Craig Gallman was running it out of his BEDROOM!   And who is now the assistant to the Chairman  at Atlantic!

JB: Is that right?

KB:  But we were working with Craig Gallman, and we were doing all nighters for him, and Eddie and myself, we're the vocals behind the Truth "Open Our Eyes", and then we started

working  with alotta different artists, and I went on to record with a group on Warner Brothers, I was the lead singer for a group called Def Con 4 back in the early nineties;

JB:  I think I have a promo of like one of their jams.

KB:  And one of the guys who was half of the production Fly Guy Productions, Guy Vaughn,

Passed-away, and so I went on to do some other things working, doing backgrounds for  different people; working with Wig Productions, singing background for Teddy Pendergrass,

Celine Dion,

JB: You've been all over;!

KB: Yeah, Jennifer Holiday, Malira, I sang on alotta records..a LOTTa records;

JB:  You mentioned Marshall Jefferson a minute ago, and I do a radio show here in southern

New Jersey on 92.1  which is just seventies and eighties dance, disco, and R&B, and was preppin the other day and pulled-out a Marshall Jefferson 12-inch called, um..somethin' simple like, "Move That Body"?

KB: "Move Your Body"

JB: Yeah, "Move Your Body"!

KB: That's his biggest record, and everybody uses that, "da,da,da, dun,dun, da,da;"

It was a huge record for him; he's my buddy, I think he's livin in London now.

JB: Is he still producing stuff?

KB: I haven't heard anything lately, but you never know with Marshall, he'll sneak right up on ya with something.

JB:  That's right.  So, what's the name of your new - you have an album out or a CD?

KB: I have an album out. Finally, cause I've been doing singles for the past six years.

My first single was a song I did; it was a remake of a Sylvester song called "You Are My Friend"

JB: Yes!!

KB:  It was a club version that did wonderful.

JB: I miss Sylvester's music.

KB: And then I did a few songs on King Street; about four records; one of them called "Brighter Days" which was a huge record.  And then finally started doing other things.

I have  a few records on Jellybean, and then I did "I shall Not Be Moved" on Flatline;

And finally I got a chance to do an album.  Soundmen On Wax approached me, it was a

great situation, we did it, and now we have a brand new album out called "Blessed" and were really excited about it. We're on the second single now which'll be released the end of September called "Father" that was produced by myself and Big Moses who alotta people know that the two of have this great chemistry together, seems like we always work

JB: Like timing and chemistry is everything!

KB: Ya know, and I really excited about the album, I happy with the album, and it's doing very, very very well, and I hope it continues.

JB: Okay!  And that's on Soundmen On Wax Records, right?

KB: Right.

JB:  Ya know, being in Record Pools over the years, you accumulate vinyl you may listen to, like once, but talking to you and hearing all the tracks you sung on's gonna make me go back an dig in the krates!

KB:  Yeah, I had a duet with my wife whose also a dance music artist , her name is Stephanie

Cook.  She has a record on King Street as well, and we did a duet called "Love's Been Right Here".

JB:  That's beautiful.

KB: It's really been wonderful.

JB: So you've been busy guy, 'man.

KB:   Yeah , writing now, and producing, starting my own label;

JB:  I saw you on the artists panel this afternoon, and looking at all of you on the dias, some of whom I know, I looked at you and thought, "must be kinda of a Luther Vandross singer;" (which is a compliment by the way), and you didn't disappoint me.  Then you were talking 'bout how you sing "Gospel House".  Describe "Gospel House" music for us;

KB: Well it's basically; Gospel means 'good news' and it's a message, and it's just Gospel music, the same thing you would hear from a Shirley Caesar, or James Cleveland but it just has House sounds and House tone to it.  Besides, EVERYBODY is doing house now!

You have people, even your major artists; the record is not going over until the remix is done.  

JB: You see four versions of everything that comes out, and one is invariably a House version.

KB: A lot people in the beginning weren't doing House, Gospel House, and then when I kinda did that, I even did a remake of a Sylvester that nobody  really heard, it came in and left right out, "Over and Over"

JB: I have the original

KB: You have the original?

JB:  On Fantasy Records!

KB: Well I did it over, and we're gonna make that available with all of my stuff on a CD real soon.

JB: That's good that means ole DJ's like me can play the original, and then play your version and we can keep the history goin;

KB:  There were so many soungs out by me that you guys didn't know about, and that's why I'm know in the business as "a quiet legend".

JB: Okay, Hey like Jocelyn Brown was the same way, she was in the background on other artist's records, and then one day suddenly she blew-up with "Somebody Else's Guy" so this is your time!

KB:  Well thank God.

JB: So Kenny, my readers wanna know where they can see and hear you for the rest of the year?

KB: From here, I'm on my way to Europe September 7th.  I'm going to Copenhagen, Sweden, Germany, and then I'm back in New Jersey, performing in Newark for a coupla big shows October 28th, and November 4th, then I'm on my way out again going to London, France, and then I'm back home for the Holidays until it's time to go out again.  I know Brazil is one of those places I have to go;

JB:  One last question, do you have to sing in the native language in these places?

KB: No, actually I was surprised , because I just got back from Japan not to long ago,

I usually do Japan every year, and they sing everything in English, they just can't talk it!

JB: That is amazing!

KB: Isn't that amazing?  So I really understand since I've been going to Europe and everything what they mean by music being a universal language.

JB:  You took the words outta my mouth.  And I think that's a good place to end this interview.  The Universal language of music!

KB:  Thank you, I appreciate it.  God bless you.

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