The Fatback Band are masters of locking into a groove and just rolling with it. Their songs flow effortlessly; like a torrent of funk, their hits smack any listeners with an irresistible catchy combo of agile basslines, anthemic vocal hooks, and groovey disco drums.
“Backstrokin'” is a quintessential example of this. The root of the song is, naturally, the bassline. The phenomenally funky, charismatic superstar of a bassline!
The vocals are a repetition of a few key phrases, such as the titular “Looking for the good stuff, tighten up on your backstroke”, which is probably an innuendo of some sort, but serves well as a generic exultation of rhythm…
The drums have the easy slap of disco, with a well placed use of the agogos, which is easy to get wrong!
The vocals are complemented by the horns, which serve an accentuating role rather than an attention grabbing one. That said, the song just wouldn’t be the same without those horns!
The song was released in 1980, and appeared on the 1980 E.P. Hot Box.