New Jersey Kings - on Acid Jazz Records
The New Jersey Kings was supposed to be a one-off album release called Party To The Bus Stop. The sleeve-notes claimed that the reel of tape had been found in a cupboard at Rochester train station (that’s Rochester, New York), some suitable names were listed as musicians and Matt Deighton from Mother Earth painted some wonderful jazz cover art based on Miles Davis’ On The Corner and the album was duly released as a 60s rediscovery!The reality was somewhat different. The band were indeed from Rochester, but Rochester in Kent, not Stateside. They were, to all intents and purposes, The James Taylor Quartet under a different name. It was never a particularly well-guarded secret but it was necessary. James Taylor had signed exclusively to Polydor even though he was still managed by Eddie Piller and under the terms of his contract, could not appear as a featured musician. He was allowed to play sessions of course so Acid Jazz signed his brother, David, and christened the project The New Jersey Kings. James took a back seat and as the JTQ were having their first hits, Acid Jazz took the decision to keep the whole thing as a gentle ‘rare groove’ send up. The clues were all over it. Not only was Deighton’s cover art deliciously early 70s, the band name was taken from a popular rare groove track that was getting club play at the time – Party, Don’t Worry ‘Bout It by The New Jersey Queens – losing the original pun, but sounding suitably old! The album title was lifted from an outro ad-lib line in heavy funk track from The Fatback Band, as the groove starts to fade you can clearly hear the singer throw in the line ‘Party To The Bus Stop, Baby!’ And the deception was complete.The album proved so successful that a further ‘lost tape’ was conveniently found and released on Acid Jazz a couple of years later. The album was called Stratosphere Breakdown with a similar pastiche sleeve from Deighton and eventually the band performed gigs in their own right!