Music by Kevin “Mr. Groove” McCord “for all who like M-M-M (Mellow Mood Music).”
Heralded by Dâm-Funk as one of his favorite producers, Kevin “Mr. Groove” McCord might not be a household name, but if you’re a soul and disco fan, there’s a very good chance you’ve heard or danced to his music… A bassman, keyboardist, vocalist, songwriter, and producer, McCord started out as a founding member of Al Hudson and the Soul Partners and later went on to contribute to hundreds of r&b, funk, disco, and boogie dancefloor movers in the ’70s and ’80s including huge chart hits like the Tee Scott favorite “I Want to Thank You” by One Way bandmate Alicia Meyers.
A testament to the long lasting impact of his groove, McCord’s music has been sampled on tracks by Slum Village, De La Soul, Tupac Shakur, Mary J. Blige, Common, Too Short, E-40, DJ Rashad, The Weeknd, and many others… If you’re a gamer, you might’ve also caught “Mr.Groove” on Grand Theft Auto: Vice City’s Fever 105 station which featured Oliver Cheatham’s “Get Down Saturday Night,” a track co-written by McCord.
In 1984, a decade after his major-label debut, McCord founded two now widely sought-after indie labels: Presents Records and Chance. Both labels further established his signature sound – R&B, funk, boogie, and electro with infectious basslines produced on synthesizers and drum-machines (DX7 and Linn Drum usually?), all with a DIY Detroit flavor that can be linked to the birth of House & Techno. You can hear it from the get-go with Presents’ very first release; the now-classic Carmen cut “Time to Move,” and Chance’s release of Stinger J’s “Pretty Face.” The latter of the two received the reissue treatment in 2020 via Isla of Jura.
While there has yet to be a new archival compilation of McCord’s work (calling all reissue labels…), 1991’s When the Night Comeson Chance Records is your best bet for a full album of McCord’s solo works. The 12-track collection includes the message “for all who like M-M-M (Mellow Mood Music)” and features the huge ’85 Mix 92.3 and Detroit staple “Never Say,” the Dam-Funk favorite “Don’t Let Love Slip Away,” and a new song “When The Night Comes” – a lovely duet ballad with singer Vickie Harvey. One of our favorite UK labels, Backatcha, reissued the two key tracks on a 7″ and also penned an overview of McCord’s career, which we highly recommend reading.
Below, we’ve put together a selection of some essential tracks and favorites by the great Kevin “Mr. Groove” McCord. For the DJ’s reading this, play these tracks!