Sam’s Jams: Funk, Prog-Rock, and Underground Disco

101.9 WDET audio producer Sam Beaubien mixes together three tracks from funk, progressive rock, and underground disco in this week’s ‘Sam’s Jams’ spotlight.


Each week, 101.9 WDET audio producer Sam Beaubien adds music to his ‘Sam’s Jams’ Spotify playlist.

This week he’s mixing together three songs from the playlist, getting deeper into some of his favorite cuts.

Artist: Fonzi Thorton

Song: I Work For A Living

The first song is by Fonzi Thorton, a vocalist, songwriter, and musician contractor from New York. As a teenager, he befriended and sang with a young Luther Vandross. In the 1970’s he joined Niles Rodgers in CHIC and performed as a vocalist on six of their albums, including the hit song “Good Times.”

Thornton has sung backing vocals for artists like Aretha Franklin, Luther Vandross, Bryan Ferry, Roxy Music, CHIC, Diana Ross, Garth Brooks, Ray Charles, Mariah Carey, Steely Dan, David Bowie, Robert Palmer, Patti Labelle, Al Jarreau, Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, Phoebe Snow, Bette Midler and many others.

With Aretha Franklin he sang as backing vocalist, was a vocal contractor, and continued to accompany her in concert until her death in 2018. His song “I Work For A Living” was released as part of the 1982 movie soundtrack for “Soup For One” and is produced by Nile Rodgers.

Artist: Édition Spéciale

Song: Monsieur Business

Famous French guitarist Martial “Mimi” Lorenzini founded Édition Spéciale with female singer/keyboard player Ann Ballester, bass player Josquin Turenne des Prés and drummer Jean-François Bouchet D’Angely. Blending together jazz, rock and world music, their music is highly sought after by progressive rock enthusiasts.

Artist: Cloud One

Song: “Dust to Dust”

Cloud One was a studio band that performed on disco tracks in the late 1970’s in New York. Their 1976 album “Atmosphere Strut” is a record collector favorite. What made them special at the time was their unique synthesizer programming, giving them their own sound. 

Sam’s Jams is the weekly song selection of WDET’s audio producer Sam Beaubien, a longtime Detroit musician who also helms the soul-funk band Will Sessions.

From 70 years ago to contemporary releases today, Sam’s Jams is the musical equivalent of digging for hours in dusty record store bins to find forgotten-but-should-be-remembered deep cuts pulled from the genres of funk, jazz and soul genres.


  • Sam Beaubien
    Sam Beaubien is a musician, composer, producer, and educator in Detroit. He is also the founder and leader of the acclaimed ensemble, Will Sessions.