Blow Your Whistle

Album: Do It Good (1973)
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Songfacts®:

  • This is one of the few songs you'll hear with a whistle for a lead instrument. It was inspired by Junkanoo music, which is heard in the Bahamas and other Caribbean islands during parades and other celebrations. The music is lively and fun, with lots of whistles and shouting.

    Harry Wayne Casey was based in Miami, where he was working for TK Records and managing the soul artist Timmy Thomas, when he came up with the idea. In a Songfacts interview with Casey, he told the story: "I booked him on a show with Rare Earth at the Capital Centre in Washington DC, and that night, all these kids were blowing whistles and stuff in the audience. Prior to going to that show, I'd been to a wedding and they hired a group of guys called The Mighty Junkanoo Band. I don't know if you've ever been to the Bahamas or anywhere where they have Junkanoo music, but it's very infectious. It's very percussive horns and whistles. I always thought it would be great to capture that sound, so when I saw those whistles I remembered, and I came back and wrote this song called 'Blow Your Whistle.'

    I went to the studio and I hired the local studio guys that worked at TK, and then I brought in the Mighty Junkanoo Band to play on the record."
  • This was the first release by KC and The Sunshine Band, but they issued it under the name KC and the Sunshine Junkanoo Band. At the time, the "band" was a group of studio musicians at TK Records. The song was issued without any band photo (because there was no band) but got enough R&B airplay to climb to #27 on the R&B chart (many assumed Casey, who sang lead on the track, was black).

    In 1974, KC and The Sunshine Band released their first album, Do It Good, which included "Blow Your Whistle." More singles landed on the R&B charts, but pop radio ignored the group in America. They had more success in the UK, and then in 1975 cracked the American pop market... big time. "Get Down Tonight" was a #1 hit, and the group became one of the most popular acts of the disco era.

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