Forgotten series: King Harvest – Dancing In The Moonlight (1973)

Due to a big soulful chorus, a funky pop touch and good time vibe, “Dancing In The Moonlight” could understandably be mistaken as a Three Dog Night song. But the catchy little ditty, which reached the No. 13 spot on the national charts early in 1973, was actually the creation of King Harvest.

Formed in 1969, the New York band sharpened their craft locally for two years before expiring, then getting back together and moving to Paris, France. King Harvest eventually returned to New York and launched an American tour in support of their first album, Dancing In The Moonlight (Perception Records), which included their hit single of the same name. Those who judge King Harvest strictly on the basis of “Dancing In The Moonlight” will be quite surprised at what a smorgasbord of styles this disc offers.

As an example, there’s the heavy swamp funk of “Roosevelt and Ira Lee.” Streaked with wobbly wah-wah guitars, the blistering track sounds like a heated exchange between Creedence Clearwater Revival and Sly and the Family Stone, while an instrumental, “Motor Job,” with its twinkly piano exercises and whipping grooves, leads to a snappy fusion of cocktail jazz and funky soul.

A couple of ballads, tinged with country leanings, also arise on the album, as well as the summery harmony pop of the plush and pretty “You And I” that echoes the Beach Boys. Rife with hard-rocking funk rhythms, topped with blazing saxophone fills, “Lady, Come Home” and “Marty And The Captain,” a glossy slice of commercially-inspired pop placed in the vein of groups such as the Looking Glass and Gallery, plug in as additional noteworthy songs heard on the set.

Although the band never repeated the success they obtained with “Dancing In The Moonlight,” they released another album called King Harvest for A&M Records, which featured guest appearances from Peter Cetera of Chicago and Mike Love and Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys. Diverse and flexible, King Harvest was the kind of band that could play anything at the drop of a hat, making them perfect candidates to court music listeners of all stripes.

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Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 on the national charts with "Stand By Me" - which is ironically one of her favorite songs, especially the version by John Lennon. She has also contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as associate editor of Rock Beat International. Paterson's own publications have included Inside Out, and Twist And Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
  • http://www.reverbnation.com/kingharvest King Harvest

    Thanks Bev!
    Believe it or not, we’re still kickin’. Just released a new EP, did a new stereo remaster of Dancing in the Moonlight, and licensed DITM for the movie Bad Grandpa which opens on October 25 in the US. The video you included is from our annual reunion concert in Olcott Beach, NY (where Marty (Teal) and the Captain (Hedley) lived) which is always the high point of our year. Nothing like a little rock and roll to keep you breathing. All the best to you.

  • jaubert
  • Kit O’Toole

    I absolutely love this song–it takes me back to my very early childhood. It’s a perfect slice of 70s pop. Thanks for a great article on a fun band!

  • Steven

    Two other bands having similar-sounding (to me) hits in about the same early-seventies time frame were Looking Glass, with “Brandy,” and Gallery, with “Nice To Be With You.”