Putting the sin into sin drums…
Knock On Wood is one of those party staples which ended up representing a whole scene. You can understand why. Not just because it is a consummate disco record, with its infectious opening like a tube train whooshing into a station. The tempo is forgiving enough for lousy dancers, open enough for good dancers to strut their stuff. Its got sound effects. Amii’s extravagant act also adds something to the track, especially when coupled with the clarity of her voice though the effects. But the fact it is a cover version makes it special. It shows what disco could offer a song, what it could do to beef it up and make it truly disco.
Like some slinky avatar of Aries The Ram, Amii, aided by a quantel paintbox and a playfully aggressive delivery sells the song. Its one of the most direct tracks I know about getting on the dancefloor, and getting up to speed. It takes glitter band percussion to the next level, stapling its relentless shuffle to the synthesized tune and beat. It takes Eddie Floyd’s R&B stomper and adds a shuffle to it, keeping the raunch but removing the strut. The song has always been about the horn crescendo under the title, and Amii’s version turns that into a cyborg honk of electronic clarity. Amii’s is almost like an answer record to Eddie’s, his is how he pulls a girl, all funky strut and brassy. Hers is cooly efficient, less aggressive but with an edge of raunch with her thunder and lightning on show. And whilst both tracks are great, there is only one I would play at a wedding.