During the 70s Paul Stanlee Thomas toured as a session musician with L.T.D., while closer to home he engineered albums for Indiana bands Manchild, Ebony Rhythm Funk Campaign and Amnesty. Then one day in '83, after cutting his own demo at the studio, Thomas' manager George Kachadoorian (Bootsy Collins' former rep) introduced him to an executive at the gospel label Tyscot Records, who was interested in signing new acts to his nascent secular imprint, Circle City Records.
That's how Paul Thomas became Circle City Band.
While a few of Thomas' friends lent a hand, most of the instruments on the band's three singles "Magic," "My Place," and "Party Lights (Shake Your Body Get Loose)" were played by Thomas then mixed in post-production. The cuts were regional hits, as well as popular club jams, and BET even used "Magic" for theme music on one of its shows.
Despite hailing from the Midwest, Thomas' brand of roller disco rubber boogie was destined to be bumped from a dropped six-four rolling down Long Beach. It was right at home in rotation with p-funketeers Dazz Band, Lakeside, Midnight Star, Shalamar, Zapp and late Bar-Kays.
But as quickly as City Circle Band rose to small time fame, it faded into big time obscurity.
Thomas spent the 90s producing gangster rap albums, violent records which the born-again Christian now disowns. He also engineered MC Hammer's first three albums, production credits he should probably also disown.
As with all good music, however, Thomas' early 12 inch singles funky-wormed their way back out of the ground. Story has it that Thomas was chilling at a party in Los Angeles with Steve Arrington of Slave and Dam Funk, as many of us often do, and the deejay coincidentally dropped "Magic." After the set, Thomas introduced himself to the deejay, who in turn introduced Paul Thomas to Thomas Cady, the A&R guy for Ubiquity Records.
Next thing Thomas knew, Ubiquity's rare groove subsidiary, Luv n' Haight, was publishing a Circle City Band album, featuring remastered versions of his holy trinity of classics, along with six previously unreleased tracks.
With the exception of a truncated version of "Gladiators," none of the new songs are on Youtube, yet. In the meantime, you can jam your box to these:
"My Place (Long Club Mix)"
"Party Lights (Shake Your Body Get Loose)"
"Magic (Instrumental Mix)"
"Party Lights (Shake Your Body Get Loose) Dub Mix"