Sunburn

by: Sun

Sun's third album, Sunburn, found the Ohio funk band going through some major personnel changes. Six guys (Bruce Hastell and original members Dean Hummons, Chris Jones, Hollis Melson, Shawn Sandridge, and John Wagner) left after 1977's Sun Power, and five new members (Robert Arnold, Nigel Boulton, Sonnie Talbert, Keith Cheatham, and Curtis Hooks) came on board. Gary King and Ernie Knisley (both of whom joined Sun with Sun Power) remained, as did original members Byron Byrd and Kym Yancey. So by its third album, the group only had two of its original members. But creatively, that isn't a problem on Sunburn, which is one of the band's more consistent and memorable records. Most of the material is rewarding, and that includes gritty funk jams like "You're the One," "Sun of a Gun," and "Sun Is Here" (a number 18 R&B hit) as well as the sentimental, Temptations-like slow jam "When You Put Your Hand in Mine" and the smooth Northern soul ballad "I Had a Choice." When a band loses six of its members in one fell swoop, there is cause for concern -- if you had been either Sun's manager or a Capitol A&R person in the late 1970s, imagine how you would felt upon learning that over half of its members were leaving and being replaced. But as it turned out, they weathered that storm nicely on Sun Power, one of their best releases. ~ Alex Henderson

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