Foxy was a dance/disco/Latin music group consisting of singer/guitarist/front man Ish Ledesma, Richie Puente (percussions; he was the son of Tito Puente), Charlie Murciano (keyboards), Arnold Paseiro (bass), and Joe Galdo (drums). The band formed in Miami, Florida in 1976. They scored their biggest hit “Get Off” in 1978. Other significant hit singles placed on the mainstream dance charts including “Get Off Your Aahh!,” “The Way You Do The Things You Do,” “Don’t Stop,” “Hot Number” and “Party Boys.” After three LP’s, Foxy disbanded in the 1980s. Ledesma went on to form and play with other groups such as Oxo and Company B.
Formation and early career as session musicians
The group that would be known as Foxy formed in Miami, Florida in 1976. They consisted of singer-guitarist and leader Ish “Angel” Ledesma (born in 1952 in Cuba), percussionist Richie Puente (son of the famed bandleader Tito Puente), bassist Arnold Paseiro and drummer Joe Galdo.
Recurring members of Foxy also included Charlie Murciano on keyboards, Gary Ortiz on lead and backing vocals, and Carl Driggs on vocals and percussion. Driggs also wrote Foxy’s biggest hit “Get Off,” with Ledesma.
Ledesma and his family migrated from Cuba to Miami when he was just a child. Aside from Latin music he had also been weaned on rock and roll. During the 1970s he was hired as a session player for TK Records, which was owned and headed by record label executive Henry Stone. In 1976, Ledesma formed his own band to aid him in his session work, with Stone’s permission. Even as regular session players for TK, Ledesma and his band also held gigs to augment their income.
Soon, Henry Stone’s session band strove to make a name of its own. The newly-formed group christened itself Foxy and released their self-titled debut album in 1976. It did not chart nationally, and its single “People Fall in Love While Dancing” (b/w “Let’s Love”) was no more than a regional hit.
Foxy’s other earlier singles “Get Off Your Aaahh! and Dance” (1976) and “The Way You Do the Things You Do” (1977) rose to the dance charts at #16 and #5, respectively.
By 1978, Foxy had gotten away from their glossy Euro-disco style but still they retained their characteristic Afro-Cuban/Brazilian/Latin music overtones. This time their second album Get Off emerged a much funkier, more aggressive Foxy. The change of style worked for them, as Get Off‘s title track went all the way to Billboard’s Hot 100, peaking at #5. It also went to #18 on the dance chart and #1 on the R&B singles chart.
The Get Off LP peaked at #12 on the Billboard 200 and #3 on the R&B albums chart.
Their non-album singles in 1979 “Don’t Stop” and “RRRRRRock” were only minor hits on the dance charts at #39 and #66, respectively. “RRRRRRock” also went to the R&B top ten at #4.
With the success of the Get Off album and its title track, Foxy wanted to follow it up with something similar to their hit. In 1979, they released their third LP Hot Numbers. The album’s single “Hot Number” (without the “s”) managed to eke out a #21 pop chart position, while it went to #26 on the dance singles chart and #4 R&B.
Also in 1979, Foxy came out with Party Boys LP; the title track went to #24 on the dance singles chart. Other singles such as “Headhunter” and “Devil Boogie” failed to fire up even on the radio charts, a sign that the disco genre was falling out of public favor. By 1980, Foxy had disbanded and their live album, simply titled Live, was released around that year.
The story behind the iconic “Get Off” song
Before joining Foxy, Carl Driggs had also been a member of the South Florida rock band Kracker since 1970. Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and Keith Richards admired and championed Kracker. This resulted in a record distribution deal with the Rolling Stones Records and an opening act slot to the legendary English band in their European tours. Driggs also toured with other famed acts such as Chuck Berry, Styx, and Sly and the Family Stone.
Even while with Foxy, Ledesma had already started his solo career by 1979. He released his self-titled debut album that year, and its single “Don’t Stop” became a big disco smash. After Foxy, Ledesma formed another band named Oxo in 1983. In 1986, he released his second LP On This Corner while he kept himself preoccupied with studio work. His most notable collaborations were the ones with ABBA (“Voulez Vous”) and R&B singer Latimore (“Goodbye Heartache”). He also wrote and produced material for many other artists such as Blue Moderne, Promise Circle, Apollonia, Dazz Band, Noel and Lisa B. In 1996, Ledesma formed another group Company B, whose members also included his wife and sister.
Up to the present Ledesma has been devoting himself to record producing full-time. He is still also active as a musician, particularly working and appearing within his home state of Florida.
Richie Puente died in 2004, after a long illness that he had sustained from an assault. He was 51 years old.