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Formed in New York City in 1970, The Fatback Band was the concept of Bill Curtis, an experienced session drummer, inspired to merge the "fatback" jazz beat of New Orleans into a funk band. In addition to Curtis, the band's initial line-up included guitarist Johnny King, bassist Johnny Flippin, trumpet player George Williams, saxophonist Earl Shelton, flautist George Adams, and keyboardist Gerry Thomas. The band specialized in playing "street funk". The group also later included conga player Wayne Woolford, vocalists Jayne and Gerry, Deborah Cooper saxophonist Fred Demerey, guitarist Louis Wright and George Victory.

The Fatback Band signed to Perception Records and had a hit single that summer with "Street Dance". The single reached the Top 30 on the Rhythm & Blues chart but failed to cross over to the pop chart, a pattern the group would follow for the rest of their career. The band released the albums Let's Do It Again, People Music, and Feel My Soul before signing to Event Records in 1974.

In the mid-1970s, the band incorporated jazz elements and moved more towards a disco sound resulting in the singles, "Keep On Steppin'", "Yum, Yum (Give Me Some)", and "(Are You Ready) Do The Bus Stop". The singles proved popular in dance clubs but didn't do as well on R&B charts until the spring of 1976 when "(Do The) Spanish Hustle" came close to the Top Ten. "(Are You Ready) Do The Bus Stop" birthed the development of line dancing.

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