Monday, August 27, 2007

Disco Delivery #43:
Wardell Piper (1979, Midsong International)



Wardell Piper - Super Sweet | LINK TWO
Wardell Piper - Super Sweet (12'' Version) | LINK TWO
Wardell Piper - Win Your Lovin' | LINK TWO
Wardell Piper - Captain Boogie | LINK TWO
Wardell Piper - Captain Boogie (12'' Version) | LINK TWO
Wardell Piper - Don't Turn Away From Me Baby | LINK TWO
Wardell Piper - If You Want To Make Love To Me | LINK TWO

When I took a little trip to Vancouver back in March, among the other goodies that I got, I had finally managed to get a copy of Wardell Piper's awesome (and only) album along with one of the 12'' singles from it. Although there was writing on the cover and a cut-corner (thanks to DungeonDJ for the retouched photo!), luckily the record itself was in mint condition and the sleeve even included an original fold-out poster of the cover... I had wanted to have a copy of the album (the local record stores here never had any decent ones) ever since I had heard the two singles off of it some five years back. Couldn't get enough of them then, and I still love 'em now.

Wardell, like many of her contemporaries, would get her start singing in church at the tender age of five. Years later, right out of high school, she would become one of the early members of First Choice appearing on some of their first singles like "This Is The House Where Love Died" and "Armed And Extremely Dangerous." Although online sources are somewhat unclear about exactly when she left the fold, (unfortunately my Japanese First Choice 2 CD compilation, with incorrect liner notes, is no help either), it seems she most likely left the group shortly after those few initial singles.

While on her own album, the singles "Super Sweet" and "Captain Boogie" were the major attractions, the rest of the record doesn't doesn't disappoint either. Definitely one of the funkiest, rawest disco albums I've heard from a female disco artist of the time. Along with those tight grooves - that that glam 'eve and the serpent' shot has got to be one of the most outrageously stunning disco cover shots I've ever seen. Quite honestly, one of the best things about collecting disco, (right along with the music, of course) has got to be admiring the album covers that they got away with..

Recorded in her native Philadelphia at Alpha International Studios and produced by John H. Fitch (AKA John H. Fitch, Jr., John Fitch) and Reuben Cross (who had also produced some tracks for Carol Douglas at the time as well written Evelyn 'Champagne' King's break out signature hit "Shame"), the daring glamour of the cover photo on the outside seemed perfectly matched to the grooves inside. The album, to me, is like one of those ultimate combinations of disco and funk. Those prominent horns, guitars and bass giving a bit of a heavy funk feeling, yet at the same time topped off with a great string/horn harmony on much of the album, giving things a bit of that disco finesse. It's one of those albums that doesn't sound overly polished, yet still managed to achieve a full, meaty sound, with no shortage of elements in the mix. There's just a certain uncomplicated, uncluttered and (although I hate using this description) organic sound to the record, with the finished product bursting with an undiluted energy and spontenaity.

Aside from the the musical backing, Wardell's voice is undoubtedly one of the big spectacles of this album. Her vocals only adding and highlighting the record's funk factor. I haven't heard too many of her later singles, but judging from what I've heard so far, they didn't seem to come close to approaching the type of vocal dynamism she had on this record. By that, I don't necessarily mean histrionics like Patti LaBelle or sheer power like Loleatta, but in how she seems comes across gutsy, smooth and straight-forward one minute, then coming practically unhinged the next, letting loose these sudden, wild, wails, moans and feline screams; that voice making itself one of the boldest, funkiest things on the record.

The first track "Super Sweet" practically sets the template, with it's steady groove opening with an infectious guitar line, propelled by a fat bassline and handclaps. The horns and strings (courtesy of Philly's Don Renaldo and his Strings and Horns) come in a little bit later kicking things up considerably. If you thought strings couldn't be funky, they make 'em on here. Undaunted, even by a funny line like "I'm stuck on you, like glue on a shoe," or by that cute K.C. & The Sunshine Band reference in the chorus/refrain, Wardell really gives it on this track. Her vocals seem to climb along with the record, getting wilder and wilder by the minute until she completely turns it loose at the five minute mark. The second half of the song (which, in all, goes on for some 11 minutes on the album) is marked by a mean break at the 7.50 mark, which would last for another three to four minutes, giving prime exposure to that big, bad-ass bassline.

The 12'' version mixed by Jimmy Simpson (brother of Valerie and Ray) is slightly shorter at 8 minutes, replacing the funky guitars in the with a steady percussion lead-in, which later brought those light synths in the background right up front. Overall, not quite as punchy as the album version, though it cuts a cleaner, more straightforward groove; keeping Wardell's wild vocal runs and the basic dynamic, but cutting out the multi-layered breaks and coda at the end, instead focusing solely on the bass and percussion, particularly towards the close.. That said, in my opinion, both the album and 12'' versions of this track are equally effective and complimentary takes, neither straying too far rom one another, yet still highlighting different elements in the track.

Side one ends with a slower track, "Win Your Lovin'," which I wouldn't call a ballad, but perhaps the closest thing to one on this album. Despite the tempo, this track has the same meaty backing as the opening track, especially with the bass hitting it real hard right up front, keeping an extra tight groove going along with the horns, percussion (especially at that 6 minute mark) and strings which all together keep the proceedings consistently interesting and engaging. Of course, Wardell's vocals also deserve some credit for that as well. Although slightly more subdued on here, she manages to sound assertive and gutsy, yet perpetually on the verge of letting out that signature wail of hers..

The side two opener, "Captain Boogie," is yet another one of the big tracks on this album, certainly one of my instant favourites. One of those "he's the greatest dancer" type of tracks, about admiring a super-cool dude at the disco, who "does his steps, smooth as silk, cool as he can be," the ladies getting "satisfaction.. watching him in action" calling him "the baddest cat, I've ever seen." With those horns punching through right at the start, it cuts an infectiously fun, ferocious groove that never lets up - gets right in up your face and kicks you in the ass. With Wardell going wild, horns blazing right up front, guitars, galloping percussion and everything else it seems out in full-force, even a few synthesized elements in the mix, this track packs a punch like none of the others on the record.

The 12'' version remixed by Eddie O' Loughlin (producer, executive and founder of the Midsong and Next Plateau labels) and New York DJ Tony Gioe takes the track from around 6 minutes to around 8, starting off with a steadier, simple 4/4 beat and hi-hat instead of the horns. Overall, it ends up toning down some of the dynamics of the album version, with the horns much less prominent in the mix and the 4/4 beat on the bass drum, practically buried on the album version, but right up front on the 12''. Although slightly shorter; for me, the punchy, practically ass-kicking album version feels so much more satisfying. It sounds like they took a similar approach to the "Super Sweet" mix on this 12'', but perhaps in an effort to give a more staightforward groove, it's as if they ended up knocking the wind out of it's sails instead, so to speak; taking away and trimming down some of the tracks' most infectious elements.. One of those exceptional instances where the 12'' version is inferior to the LP version.

The next track on the record, "Don't Turn Away From Me Baby" is yet another strong selection on here. The tempo is a bit slower, but Wardell still scorches through this one, helped along by an especially fired up band behind her. I absolutely love the sexy, steaming almost desperate tension on this track, with the horns and strings making an especially explosive combination on here, building things to a fever pitch, at which point an awesome sax comes in towards the end, taking things even higher..

The album comes to a close with "If You Want To Make Love To Me," which is an improbable, though in a way, fitting album closer revealing Wardell as less of the disco temptress or the uninhibited party girl but as a deftly clever tease instead; engaging you, surprising you, and charming you - giving you just enough to leave you wanting more than you can have.. Just when you thought the album had no surprises left, the chorus pretty much says it all: "if you want to make love to me, you're gonna have to marry me." With all the connotations attached to disco, and all the suggestions the daring cover shot and her wild vocal ways might have made, it's the last sort of sentiment ("that free love stuff, boy it's not enough") one would expect at the end of such an album - a disco album, no less. It's an almost absurdly surprising, if not playfully subversive, way to end one. I guess her inner church lady was never far behind - snakes and disco be damned...

That last track, in particular, reminded me of a couple of articles that I found about her on the 'Souvenirs' section of Victor Simonelli's excellent website vjsproductionsinc.com (one of the few sites out there with actual disco magazine articles from the time). There's one, in particular, where she seems to express mixed feelings about her image and disco in general. Some choice excerpts and quotes from that article (entitled "Disco's Other Bad Girls"):

And what, you ask, is Wardell Piper? Backed by a troop of near-naked male dancers/or by a cageful of live tigers, Midsong's Wardell from Philadelphia wails, moans and disco-funks....outrageously mixing disco technology and ballsiness. Even those who do not own stereos have been known to buy Piper's album for the photographic update of Eve and the serpent depicted on the cover. Within tongue-shot of a python's head, Piper's frameable fantasy suggests that she does to a snake what Donna Summer does to a microphone.

Despite her claim as a goddess of disco-funk, in real life, Piper appears in a conservative business suit. No pythons, "I don't want people to label me a snake lady," she says. When I finish on stage, I don't wrap snakes around my neck. I go home to forget about that scene. After a while, disco gets on my nerves."

"Everybody associates me with sex and that just takes me out" pipes Piper....

.....As [an] uninhibited fan performed an impromptu bump and grind, Piper bumped right back. "I consider it an honor to inspire reaction like that," Piper commented later. And what did she do after the show? "I left the stage and prayed."

Lord knows, if I was sharing a stage with live tigers and near-naked men, I'd probably be saying a few prayers, myself..

In any case, there's another great interview with her reproduced on the same site from August 1979, originally from a trade magazine called Disco DJ, where she talks in more depth about her background, influences and her views on disco..

From what I've found, evidently there was one B-side culled from these sessions called "How Long," which is, of course, not on the record, but which seems to have found it's way on to the flip side of some versions of the "Captain Boogie" 12'' single, mostly on some of the European pressings on coloured vinyl. From what I gathered, she'd release only one more single on Midsong in 1980, entitled "Gimme Something Real." She would then go on to record and release singles for the Prelude and Sam labels in the early 80's, among them "Come On Back To Mama" (1983, Sam) and the ice-cool groove of "Nobody (Can Take You From Me)" for Prelude in 1984 before completely fading into obscurity thereafter.

Although I presume she would have been largely inactive in the music business since then, surprisingly in 2004 I'd come across a 12'' single, a house track with her on vocals entitled "Good Lovin'. " Apparently a re-release of a track from 1999, credited to The David Banks Project featuring Wardell Piper on David Banks' AKA DJ Disciple's own label Catch 22 Recordings. Sure enough, the voice was unmistakable.

Since then, there doesn't appear to have been anything more, but then again, who knows if or when she may resurface on record next. Regardless of that, so far this album remains, for me, one of the more distinctive disco records released by a female disco singer. With the raw, funky edge of the grooves, her voice cutting through the mix, often with wild abandon, and of course, that unforgettable cover - it made for a stunning, memorable and fully satisfying (if not, slightly surprising) package all the way through.

Note: In the late '90s, "Super Sweet" and "Captain Boogie" off this album were released on a CD, in what appear to have been their 12'' versions, called "12x12 Original 12'' Disco Mixes" on a small label called Prophecy Entertainment. Not sure how good the sound quality was, however the CD was mostly made up of tracks from the Midsong catalogue (which seems to be one of the more underrated disco labels out there), and is so far probably the only CD to focus on their output. The label (Prophecy Entertainment) that put it out once had a website, which has long since closed (much like the label itself). Although there don't seem to be many traces of the CD out there anymore, evidently Amazon still lists it on their website (albeit with no new or used copies available as of this writing).

PREVIOUS RELATED LINKS:
DISCO DELIVERY #13: MOVE YOUR BODY ALL AROUND.. (FRIDAY MARCH 31, 2006)

LINKS:
WARDELL PIPER - S/T LP @ DISCOGS
WARDELL PIPER - SUPER SWEET 12'' @ DISCOGS
WARDELL PIPER - CAPTAIN BOOGIE 12'' @ DISCOGS
WARDELL PIPER IN DISCO DJ (AUGUST 1979) @ VJSPRODUCTIONSINC.COM
JOHN H. FITCH @ ALL MUSIC GUIDE
JOHN H. FITCH @ DISCOGS
REUBEN CROSS @ ALL MUSIC GUIDE
REUBEN CROSS @ DISCOGS
JIMMY SIMPSON @ DISCOGS
EDDIE O'LOUGHLIN @ DISCOGS
TONY GIOE @ DISCOGS

DISCO ARTICLES: 'SOUVENIRS" @ VJSPRODUCTIONSINC.COM

CATEGORIES: DISCO DELIVERIES

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Midnight Rhythm Redux



After playing my usual procrastination game, at long last, I've finally got around to this..

A couple of months ago, I got an unexpected email from Robby Adcock, one of the producers of Midnight Rhythm (which I had originally posted this past March), who not only offered to correct and clarify some of the factual errors and questions that I had in the original post, but also offered to give me some detailed background on the making of Midnight Rhythm itself. As excellent as the record is, I was genuinely surprised at the rich background that this fairly obscure disco project had. I suppose, in some ways, it goes to show that with the convenience of music, mp3s and of all things generally today, often times the sheer energy and effort that goes into making music, especially records employing teams of actual musicians such as this one, can be so easily taken for granted..

Needless to say, I finally got around to updating the original entry with all the info from Robby's emails. For those of you who missed the original posting several months back, the mp3 files are still available for downloading..

Disco Delivery #37: Midnight Rhythm (1978, Atlantic)

Hopefully those of you who enjoyed this album when I posted it the first time (as well as those of you who are new to it) will find the additional info as interesting and informative as I did.. I had to reformat the usual 'mini essay', making it into what I suppose would be the first actual 'interview' that I've ever done.. I've tried to pack as much information as I could in there, so my apologies if it comes across a bit too long winded, or rather - even more so than usual.

When I first bought the Midnight Rhythm album some four years ago, I remember at the time being somewhat frustrated at the lack on information available on this project.. I never expected that I would end up communicating with one of the producers several years later to fill in all the blanks... Quite honestly, when I post about a record, I never expect for it to bring me in contact with any of the producers, writers or musicians behind it, much less have one of them give me a detailed history of the project.. So a major, major thanks to Robby Adcock for his generous contributions and for giving me permission to reprint the content of his emails on here..

PREVIOUS RELATED ENTRIES:
DISCO DELIVERY #37: MIDNIGHT RHYTHM (1978, ATLANTIC) (WEDNESDAY MARCH 14, 2007)

CATEGORIES: RE-DELIVERIES

Friday, August 10, 2007

Upcoming Sister Sledge Reissues



On September 18th, all of Sister Sledge's out of print albums for the Atlantic label (which is pretty much all of them except "We Are Family") will finally be reissued on CD by Wounded Bird Records. Wounded Bird (I've always found that the stangest name for a record label) seem to have been carving out a bit of a niche lately in no-frills, quality CD reissues, mostly from the Warner labels (see the last batch of Chic album reissues, among others)..

Aside from "Love Somebody Today," "All American Girls" (both of which had been previously released on CD by Rhino in the mid-90's) and of course "We Are Family," this will also mark the CD debut of all of the other Sister Sledge albums in their entirety.. No word on the tracklists yet, if there will be any bonus tracks included with any of the reissues. Wounded Bird aren't exactly known for adding extras, so for now, I'm assuming these will be straight reissues with just the original tracklists..

Considering the gap between Wounded Bird's Chic reissues (Real People/Tongue In Chic in 2003, the rest only last year), the simultaneous release of seven of the sisters' albums comes as a rather pleasant surprise. Given how closely Sister Sledge is associated with the Chic sound, I'm assuming their Chic reissues from late last year have done pretty well for these to have gotten the go-ahead...

So far, there are no details yet on Wounded Bird's website, but most of the major online retailers already have these listed for pre-order..
Update: Pictures and prices now available on the Wounded Bird website..


Circle Of Love (1975, Atco/Atlantic / 2007, Wounded Bird)
buy/pre-order @ cduniverse.com | amazon.com | amazon.co.uk | dustygroove.com
The first album - produced by Bert DeCoteaux and Tony Silvester. Much of the album was written by Gwen Guthrie and Patrick Grant aside from "Give In To Love" written by Thom Bell/Linda Creed and the title track co-written by none other than Patrick Adams and Faye Hauser. Overall, I don't exactly consider this among their best albums, though the title track and the single "Love, Don't You Go Through No Changes On Me" are both standouts..
SISTER SLEDGE - CIRCLE OF LOVE LP (REVIEW) @ ALL MUSIC GUIDE
SISTER SLEDGE - CIRCLE OF LOVE LP @ DISCOGS



Together (1977, Cotillion/Atlantic / 2007, Wounded Bird)
buy/pre-order @ cduniverse.com | amazon.com | dustygroove.com
Before striking gold with Chic and "We Are Family," they had hooked up with German producers Michael Kunze and Sylvester Levay (the production team behind Silver Convention) for this album. Unfortunately, I don't even have this album yet, but it certainly sounds like an interesting and promising 'Philly meets Munich' type of collaboration. So far, at least for now, this also appears to be the hardest to find out of all their LPs (at least in my experience). Some of the notable tracks on here include a couple of Stevie Wonder covers: "As" and "I Was Made to Love Her (Him)" along with "Blockbuster Boy," which was included on their early '90s "Best Of Sister Sledge (1973-1985)" (1992, Rhino) CD.. In any case, I can't wait to finally hear this one..
SISTER SLEDGE - TOGETHER LP @ DISCOGS


Love Somebody Today (1980, Cotillion/Atlantic / 2007, Wounded Bird)
buy/pre-order @ cduniverse.com | amazon.com | amazon.co.uk | dustygroove.com
Their second and last album with producers Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards AKA The Chic Organization. This one may not reach the heights of "We Are Family," nevertheless Chic's magic touch doesn't fail them on this one either. As a whole, it's one of my favourite Sister Sledge albums containing some great uptempos like "Got To Love Somebody," along with some of Chic's best balladry as well ("Let's Go On Vacation", "I'm A Good Girl"). Also a rather timely reissue considering the high prices Rhino's out-of-print 1995 reissue have commanded in the recent past.
SISTER SLEDGE - LOVE SOMEBODY TODAY LP (REVIEW) @ ALL MUSIC GUIDE
SISTER SLEDGE - LOVE SOMEBODY TODAY LP (REVIEW) @ ROBERTCHRISTGAU.COM
SISTER SLEDGE - LOVE SOMEBODY TODAY LP (REVIEW) @ WARR.ORG
SISTER SLEDGE - LOVE SOMEBODY TODAY LP @ DISCOGS
SISTER SLEDGE - LOVE SOMEBODY TODAY (1995 CD REISSUE) @ AMAZON.COM



All American Girls (1981, Cotillion/Atlantic / 2007, Wounded Bird)
buy/pre-order @ cduniverse.com | amazon.com | amazon.co.uk | dustygroove.com
This album was also reissued on CD by Rhino in 1995 (complete with butchered cover art) and if it weren't for me checking just now, I could have sworn that it was out of print as well.. I suppose Rhino must have only recently put theirs back in print - just in time for this release, no less.. Although that probably makes this reissue a tad redundant, as far as the album goes: despite this being their break from the Chic Organization, producer Narada Michael Walden and the sisters (who also contribute to the production as well as a great deal of the songwriting) manage to deliver a great record here. Kicking things off on a high with the Chic-inspired title track and the original, energetic, rock-influenced album version of "He's Just a Runaway" (a million miles better than the lackluster "Bob Marley tribute" version that became the single) and "If You Really Want Me," this record has a much livelier, assertive approach than their previous. One of their most underrated and enjoyable, in my opinion..
SISTER SLEDGE - ALL AMERICAN GIRLS LP (REVIEW) @ ALL MUSIC GUIDE
SISTER SLEDGE - ALL AMERICAN GIRLS LP @ DISCOGS
SISTER SLEDGE - ALL AMERICAN GIRLS (1995 CD REISSUE) @ AMAZON.COM



The Sisters (1982, Cotillion/Atlantic / 2007, Wounded Bird)
buy/pre-order @ cduniverse.com | amazon.com | amazon.co.uk | dustygroove.com
Notable for being the only album entirely produced by the Sisters themselves (hence, the title). I actually find this album to be somewhat better than the singles off of it indicated it to be (lukewarm cover of Mary Wells' "My Guy," to name one). Aside from the ballads (like their version of "All The Man That I Need" - originally by Linda Clifford, later made famous by Ms. Nippy), there was also a slight sleek, urban edge on some of the album tracks, like "Super Bad Sisters" which included a little rap section and the awesome "Il Mácquillage Lady," which has become one of my all-time favourite Sister Sledge tunes. It wasn't a single, but notable nonetheless for being the basis of Daft Punk's 2001 single "Aerodynamic" (which I only found out recently). Overall not quite as good as The Sisters' previous three records, but still a relatively decent album in it's own right.
SISTER SLEDGE - THE SISTERS LP (REVIEW) @ ALL MUSIC GUIDE


Bet Cha Say That To All The Girls (1983, Cotillion/Atlantic / 2007, Wounded Bird)
buy/pre-order @ cduniverse.com | amazon.com | amazon.co.uk | dustygroove.com
Produced by George Duke, this is another one that I don't have yet, so I can't speak for the entire record.. The songs that I have heard so far: "B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Baby)" and "Get Back To Love" off their '92 Best of CD are good, but nothing really special..
SISTER SLEDGE - BET CHA SAY THAT TO ALL THE GIRLS LP (REVIEW) @ ALL MUSIC GUIDE
SISTER SLEDGE - BET CHA SAY THAT TO ALL THE GIRLS LP @ DISCOGS



When The Boys Meet The Girls (1985, Atlantic / 2007, Wounded Bird)
buy/pre-order @ cduniverse.com | amazon.com | dustygroove.com
Their last really major album and a reunion of sorts with Nile Rodgers, right around the time when he was probably one of the hottest producers around.. Again, this is yet another one that I don't have yet. Out of the tracks I've heard so far, I don't really care for "Frankie" too much, "Dancing On The Jagged Edge" however, is one of my all-time favourites by the sisters..
SISTER SLEDGE - WHEN THE BOYS MEET THE GIRLS LP (REVIEW) @ ALL MUSIC GUIDE

PREVIOUS RELATED ENTRIES:
BBC RADIO 2 - THE RECORD PRODUCERS: NILE RODGERS (SATURDAY JANUARY 6, 2007)
UPCOMING REISSUES & RELEASES (CHIC AND MORE!): (DECEMBER 1, 2006 - JANUARY 22, 2007) (SATURDAY NOVEMBER 25, 2006)
UPCOMING REISSUES & RELEASES (APRIL 25 - MAY 30) (FRIDAY APRIL 21, 2006)
DISCO DELIVERY #2: NORMA JEAN WRIGHT - NORMA JEAN (1978, BEARSVILLE) (SATURDAY JANUARY 14, 2006)

CATEGORIES: REISSUES & RELEASES

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)

LINKS:
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

Search this blog