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Any Major Soul 1982-83

March 26th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

If I had any concerns that I might not be able to cover the 1980s with great soul music, then I was entirely mistaken. This series will go up to 1988-89 (at which point I”ll consider whether 1990-91 is worth covering). The 1982/83 season saw the continued rise of the Quiet Storm, corporate smooth soul stuff which would eventually choke the genre. There isn”t much of that on this collection (and where there is, such as Beau Williams” Elvina, it”s great).

Opening track Time Is appeared on veteran funk group New Birth“s swansong album, I”m Back, a title that proved terminally temporary. Put together in the late 1960s by Harvey Fuqua, New Birth scored a number of R&B hits throughout the “70s.

The LIVE Band, from New York City, released only one album (on The Sound of Brooklyn label). The title feature here sounds a lot like a Maze song, especially Joy And Pain, with the vocalist doing his best to emulate Frankie Beverley”s phrasing. It would be horribly unfair to call this a pastiche, though. It”s a great track from a fine album.
Gayle Adams represents the Washington D.C. soul scene here. Like so many other artists on this set, her career was relatively short-lived. Perhaps best-known for her cover of the Four Tops” Baby I Need Your Loving or possibly the dance hit Love Fever, both from the album featuring Don”t Jump To Conclusion, the sets one mid-tempo number, with a rather nice guitar solo.

Among the bonus tracks for Any Major Soul 1978-79 were Switch, which included two brothers of the DeBarge clan, Bobby and Tommy. Through their good office the younger siblings, led by El DeBarge, landed a contract with Motown subsidiary Gordy. It would be an injustice if the group”s reputation were to hinge on the chart-fodder Rhythm Of The Night; the group produced some excellent soul music. Check out the acoustic guitar solo on All This Love.

I have been unable to find out anything about Lenard Lidell, or even if he ever released anything else but his 1983 four-track EP, Afternoon Affair, from which the lovely Sweetie Pie comes. It was released by the L.A.-based Jara Records. Likewise, I have no information on The Vosonics, other than that they apparently recorded in Oakland, California.
Beau Williams was going to become a replacement member of the Temptations, but was rejected because at 5″8″ he was considered too short. In reparation, of sorts, the Temps appeared on George Benson protégé Williams” 1983 debut album Stay With Me, on which Elvina appeared. The song is a classic in some Cape Town karaoke bars, invariably causing much distress to singer and listeners when it comes to the high note at 4:20.
Fred Parris was one of doo wop group Five Satins, who recorded the original version of In The Still Of The Night, and he still tours with an incarnation of the group. In the 1980s, he led the now unnumbered Satins on a very nice soul album. Homepage here.
Windjammer, from New Orleans, are probably best remembered for the 1984 hit Tossin” And Turnin”. Stay is from their self-titled debut, released 1982. Five years earlier, guitarist Ken McLin had ambushed Tito Jackson on a hotel escalator with a Windjammer demo. To his credit, Tito listened to the tape, and two years later that charming man Joe Jackson became their manager.

Like Windjammer, Atlantic Starr were for a while produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, a period that produced gems like Silver Shadow and Let The Sun In as well as MOR ballads like Always. Circles preceded that period, with James Anthony Carmichael doing producing duty, with Sharon Bryant still with the Lewis brothers before leaving and replaced with Barbara Weathers.

PW is amdwhah.

TRACKLISTING
1. The New Birth – Time Is
2. Vernon Burch – Simply Love
3. The LIVE Band – A Chance For Hope
4. O.T. Sykes – Lonelines Inside Of Me
5. Roberta Flack – I’m The One
6. Gayle Adams – Don’t Jump To Conclusions
7. DeBarge – All This Love
8. Lenard Lidell – Sweetie Pie
9. Beau Williams ““ Elvina
10. Bloodstone – Go On And Cry
11. Fred Parris and the Satins – Let Me Be The Last One
12. Windjammer ““ Stay
13. Randy Crawford – In Real Life
14. The Vosonics – Set My Soul On Fire
15. Gwen Guthrie – It Should Have Been You
16. Atlantic Starr ““ Circles
17. Mtume – Would You Like To Fool Around

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  1. March 26th, 2010 at 01:35 | #1

    I never tire of Stevie’s “Do I Do.” It always makes things a little better.

  2. Lisa
    March 26th, 2010 at 16:26 | #2

    Love this list … “All This Love” came on my iPod shuffle last night while driving. I never get sick of that … it was runner-up to “wedding song” for hubby and I (wed in 1984) but lost out to Stevie’s version of “Creepin.”

    Would love to have seen Randy Crawford’s “Rio De Janeiro Blues” … not sure it fits in the time frame though!

  3. April 17th, 2010 at 20:34 | #3

    Excellent playlist, many new songs to me. 80s soul, it’s not for everyone, but it is for me. Merci.

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