It might be argued that the KC and the Sunshine Band’s version (1975) is funkier, but there’s something about George McCrae’s original 1974 version that I can’t quite place!
The song was actually written in the first place by Richard Finch and Hugh Casey from KC and the Sunshine band, but they needed a soul singer with a higher pitched voice, so McCrae did it.
The tempo of the track is pretty slow, with the piano hook echoing McCrae’s songs, and the bass kicking in every few beats. The drums have the particular style of vocal sampling at parts; that tch-tch-tch-ahhh sound. I think it’s quite a cool sound really…
There’s a kind of tension between the sparse verses, and the rising crescendo in the choruses which builds up and up before diffusing and releasing.
It’s quite a short song by funk standards but I’d say the song feels about the right kind of length. As the title suggests, it’s quite an uplifting song, and very well put together. The irregularity of the parts are like a jigsaw, fitting together unexpectedly well.