Throwback:Kleeer-Keep Your Body Workin’


Kleeer formed in 1972 was a New York based funk band that had the original task of backing a group called Choice 4. Woody Cunningham was the drummer, arranger, songwriter, vocalist and leader. Three other members including Paul Crutchfield on percussion and vocals, bassist Norman Dunham and Richard Lee on guitar made up the rest of the band. In 1974 they changed their name to The Jam Band and became the touring ensemble for Disco Tex And The Sex-O-Lettes. They became Pipeline the following year and decided to play hard rock which resulted in one failed single for Columbia called “Gyspy.” Patrick Adams and Greg Carmichael who were making names for themselves on the underground dance scene had released music as The Universal Robot Band but had no actual band. They approached Woody Cunningham and his group about recording and touring as the Robot band. For two years they would work as the Robot band but in 1978 they left that gig and got the new name Kleeer. “Keep Your Body Workin'” in 1979 was their first release and it generated a strong enough buzz for them to get a deal with Atlantic. Kleeer produced a number of popular singles that were party favorites and made the R&B charts. “Tonight’s The Night (Good Time),” “Winners,” “Get Tough,” “Open Your Mind” and “You Did It Again” were among their favored tracks. Seven albums and nine charting singles would fulfill their recording contract and by 1985 they recorded their last album Seeekret and disbanded. Woody Cunningham continued to work as a session drummer for Luther Vandross, Lisa Fischer, Kashif, Niles Rodgers, Martha Wash, Meli’sa Morgan and Narada Michael Walden. In 1990 the group got back together briefly and released the 12 inch “Ooh With You.” Cunningham released two solo albums in 1998 and 2000 on the Instinct and Expansion labels. He passed away in January of 2010.

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