Walking In Rhythm by The Blackbyrds (Fantasy, 1975)

The Blackbyrds were a 5 piece band formed by jazz trumpeter Donald Byrd at Howard University in Washington DC who hand-picked music majors as an experiment of sorts to see how they could learn to play and support themselves and learn about the music industry. As their teacher, mentor, and producer, Byrd guided the band through 6 successful LPs between 1974 – 1977 on the Fantasy label. George Duke produced their final LP Better Days in 1980. Their soulful jazz fusion sound has been sampled countless times in addition to being very influential to the early 80s Brit-funk movement.

Their biggest single, Walking In Rhythm, was released in early 1975. Written by their guitarist Barney Perry, it was a Top 10 pop, soul, and adult contemporary hit as well as a #23 on the UK charts.

And damn if it’s not the cheeriest thing you are gonna hear today? It even has a little ‘ham n eggs’ flute solo in the middle. (Which other decade is gonna give you that?) The song has a simple message – a guy is trying to get home to his ‘baby’ – that’s it. The timing of this release couldn’t have been better as most of our Vietnam troops were finally coming back to the States. How many of those soldiers heard a song like this, clutched it to their heart, and held onto it until their long Stateside hug.

I have always had visions on hearing this song standing in the garden room of a house with huge windows as the morning sunlight shines through. Then stepping into a backyard with a freshly cut lawn smelling the sweet magnolia as it’s in bloom. That actually happened as a kid, or I dreamed it.

Another thing – what is this singer walking in rhythm to? I guess ‘his song,’ but what song? What if it was Angie Baby or Billy Don’t Be A Hero? Would it matter? Ask a Blackbyrd and find out…


Leave a comment


  1. Welcome back, sir. Has it really been over three years? Glad to see you’re back in business.

  2. Max

     /  August 31, 2017

    Yeah, what’s going on there?
    But sweet little under appreciated song. Tight little production/musicianship/style The BlackByrds had going for them especially a couple albums. Normally I would condemn the fabrication of a band by a “label” but there were SO many sweet soul records & genuinely talented musicians during that heyday it’s hard to get too judgy.
    Don’t wait 3 years.
    I had to cheer myself up wIt h many re-readings of Dan Hill. The GREATEST review of anything ever….!

  3. Guy K

     /  September 2, 2017

    I always equated the boundless cheerfulness of Walking in Rhythm with that of The Tymes’ You Little Trustmaker, a similarly joyous and practically perfect record that came out about 6 months prior to the Blackbyrds song.

  4. Lisa

     /  September 3, 2017

    Welcome Back!

  1. Interesting/Not Interesting | The Hits Just Keep On Comin'

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