Friday, August 03, 2007
It just might take all night..
James Bradley - I Can't Get Enough Of Your Love (1979, Malaco/Attic) | LINK TWO
Not a cover of the Barry White classic, but a great, understated soulful disco groove by what appears to be a little known soul singer named James Bradley. Apparently this track was off his self-titled and only(?) album for the venerable Malaco label (at the time distributed by T.K. Records in the US), which has what is possibly one of the most stereotypical, kitschy disco cover shots ever (afro: check!, no-nonsense moustache: check! shiny, glittery discotheque in the background: check! open shirt exposing thick tufts of chest hair: check!). Disco-fabulous on a budget, as I'd like to call it..
This particular song, released on a 12'' single, but tucked away on the B-side, is one of those classic instances where the B-side is so obviously a superior record to the A-side, you wonder what the label was thinking putting it out like that. Being 1979, perhaps they thought even an extended, albeit mediocre disco single would do better than a stellar, more R&B styled track? Whatever the case, in my opinion, the inferior A-side, "I'm In Too Deep," has got to be one of the more tedious, gimmicky, uninspired disco workouts that I've heard in a while. It manages to go on for some 8 or so minutes, yet seems to have little to show for it aside from a flat arrangement and some interesting, albeit clichéd synth touches..
Flipping it over however, after the overwhelming tedium of the A-side, hearing the the soft, elegant hi-hat, and those oh-so-beautiful introductory guitar notes of "I Can't Get Enough of Your Love" is, quite appropriately, music to the ears. Relegated to the B-side probably because it wasn't the sort of straight-ahead, energetic disco typical of the time, but instead, one that straddled the boundary between R&B and disco; it can probably be described as something of a throwback to the earlier days of 'disco as danceable R&B'. Effortlessly easing into it's mellow groove, with it's instantly catchy beat and melody, Bradley's vocals riding on top of it all; that combination of melodic beauty, captivating rhythm and all-out soul would have likely made this an excellent 5 A.M. disco sleaze staple back in it's day..
While James Bradley may not have been the most well known name out there, the writer and producer of this record, Frederick Knight, would probably be much moreso. For those who might not be familiar, Knight was the producer behind none other than Anita Ward's damn-it-if-you-just-can't-resist-it disco mega-hit "Ring My Bell." In addition to that, Knight also had some success as an artist in his own right, recording an album for the Stax label, which included a 1972 top-10 US R&B hit "I've Been Lonely For So Long." Although not quite as successful; In 1981, Knight would also release an 'answer' to "Ring My Bell" under his own name entitled "Let Me Ring Your Bell Again," along with at least two other albums under his own name in the late 70s and early 80s ("Let The Sunshine In" and "Knight Time," respectively)..
Not sure what ever became of James Bradley, but evidently Frederick Knight is still around, having racked up production credits right up into this decade (at least, according to the All Music Guide). As well, Knight's Juana label, distributed by T.K. in the late 70's and once home to artists like Anita Ward and The Controllers, is still operating, albeit as a largely Gospel-focused label these days..
Aside from a few signature production touches: those little cowbell hooks, for instance; this record may not instantly resemble the bouncy, addictive "Ring My Bell," although it's yet another, albeit much less acknowledged (and perhaps less gimmicky), moment of brilliance on his part.. With Bradley's full and soulful vocals conveying just the right amount of romantic passion and vulnerability, put together with a breezy, sensual call-and-response with the female back-up, those rhythmic hooks, great guitar work and sax; it all makes for four minutes and thirty seconds of easy, groove-riding ecstasy. It's almost too good to be on the same disc as the A-side. Just one of those things that makes it all worthwhile..
PREVIOUS RELATED ENTRIES:
COCKTAILS AT THE DISCO LOUNGE.. (MONDAY JUNE 11, 2007)
JAMES BRADLEY - I'M IN TOO DEEP/I CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF YOUR LOVE 12'' @ DISCOGS
FREDERICK KNIGHT 1971 BIO @ CONCORD MUSIC GROUP
FREDERICK KNIGHT @ DISCOGS
FREDERICK KNIGHT @ ALL MUSIC GUIDE
CATEGORIES: MINI DELIVERIES