By Joe Gagliardo
In the early 80’s, after the explosion of punk, power pop and new wave, Chicago experienced a renaissance of soul/funk/R&B music.
Although it had never gone away, it had not been very visible in the clubs, or on the airwaves.
Enter Amuzement Park Band (“APB”), with a horn section, and songs that dripped with funk n’ soul. The band consisted of many veterans of the Chicago music scene, and most of the members of APB had played together for years as the back-up band for The Impressions, and then Tyrone Davis.
The band was anchored on bass by Grammy-nominated artist Paul Richmond, who not only inventively plays the pocket, but is a successful songwriter, having co-written, with Producer Leo Graham, Tyrone Davis’ 1978 hit “In The Mood,” which peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard R&B Chart.
Paul and Leo Graham also co-wrote “Shining Star” forThe Manhattans, which peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard R&B Chart, No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop Chart, and resulted in a Grammy for The Manhattans.
These successes preceded APB, but Paul’s songwriting and bass playing became part of the driving forces of APB.
Paul started playing bass in high school, and his influences include Verdine White (Earth, Wind & Fire), Larry Graham (Sly & The Family Stone and Graham Central Station), Stanley Clarke (solo and Return To Forever), Jaco Pastorius and James Jamerson (Motown).
Check out Paul’s fluid playing on APB’s “Make Up Your Mind” and “Share Your Love.”
Both of these songs are from their first LP, released in 1982, which also included another fine song written by Paul: “Do You Still Love Me.”
Watching APB live in the clubs was a real treat, they were either creating a dance party, or putting the audience in a trance with the soulful songs like “Do You Still Love Me.” APB had a follow-up LP in 1984, All Points Bulletin, produced by Hawk Wolinski of Rufus, that was released on Atlantic.
The single “No” from this LP was also a Richmond composition.
After APB, Paul has played in multiple bands, and produced many musical acts. One of his current projects is playing bass with the band Champaign, who had hits in the early 80’s with “How ‘Bout Us” and “Try Again.”
Paul played bass on those hits, as well. Some of Paul’s recent production activities include Amuzement Park Revised, a tribute to deceased former members of APB.
Also, Monkey See, Monkey Do, which is a tribute album to the great Johnny Guitar Watson where Paul, playing guitar and bass, combines covers with originals written in the Johnny Guitar Watson style.