During the summer of 1976, Cory Daye‘s voice wafted through the bamboo forests of New York’s Fire Island like an intoxicating fragrance. As the lead vocalist and co-founder of Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band, she beckoned the island’s dwellers to untold pleasures while the group’s self-titled debut stirred dancers into sweaty, salty abandon. Boardwalks seldom pulsed with such a bewitching beat.
Fire Island was worlds away from the South Bronx where Daye first met composer/arranger Stony Browder, Jr. (guitar/piano) and his brother, lyricist August Darnell (bass). Drummer Mickey Sevilla and vibe master “Sugar Coated” Andy Hernandez (aka Coati Mundi) helped crystallize the group’s musical aesthetic, which had morphed from R&B into a blend of big band, soul, Latin, jazz, dance, and pop. Produced by Four Seasons tunesmith Sandy Linzer, Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band(1976) brought the grandeur of swing-era bandstands to the discotheque, melding wry social commentary with classic Hollywood romanticism.
“Everybody’s favorite album is Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band on RCA,” critic Vince Aletti wrote in his “Disco File” column for Record World. “It’s this summer’s major surprise hit not only because three cuts are eminently danceable (‘Sour and Sweet’, ‘Cherchez La Femme’, and ‘I’ll Play the Fool’), but because the group’s fabulously eclectic sound — drawing on several decades of American pop music from big band jazz to doo-wop soul to sophisticated disco, full of sly musical quotes — is so fresh and appealing” (7 August 1976) ...