Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Don't deny yourself, just come inside..

Bonnie Oliver - Come Inside My Love (Vocal) (1979, LeJoint/London)
Bonnie Oliver - Come Inside My Love (Instrumental) (1979, LeJoint/London)

Bonnie Oliver - Come Inside My Love (Vocal - pitched down)
Bonnie Oliver - Come Inside My Love (Instrumental - pitched down)

That's the invitation on this awesome record from '79, which I picked up on 12" some four years ago now.. I wasn't even really looking for 12" singles at the time (I felt albums were a bigger bang for my buck back then), but this still remains one of my favourite finds so far..

I personally can't get enough of the desperately dark, seductive feel on this record. That feel is evident right from the beginning when those congas, handclaps and supple, galloping bass come in and cut right to the chase. Coming in right after are the real big hooks on the record: that glistening, spacey synthesizer along with that intense interplay between the strings and horns. That call/response interplay between those last two elements are probably the biggest parts of the record which they work to great effect on here, gradually escalating their power and intensity as the record progresses. Towards the end, their combined sound practically bounces out of the mix like a swift, sonic kick in the rear.. Put all that together with those trippy synthesized sound effects shooting and sliding all over background (which are even more prominent on the instrumental), the penetrating call of those backup vocals and of course Bonnie's vocals right over top phasing in and out of the mix, stretched and echoed all over the place, singing out her seduction in that understated, yet powerful style.. The result is a compelling mix of something sexy and just a little bit sinister... Deep, dark and delicious in other words (just the way I like it)..

Another one of the things which fascinated me about this record were the bits of mystery which (quite appropriately) surround it.. For the most part, not a whole lot seems to be known about this record or some of the people involved in it. The singer Bonnie Oliver doesn't seem to have too many traceable credits on the 'net, although she is listed as a backup vocalist on The Originals' "Come Away With Me" (1979, Fantasy) LP, which I have here, so I'll assume that she might have been primarily a session singer.. As far as the producer, Wiley Hicks goes, not much seems to be known about him either, but judging from the listings on Discogs he seems to have a smattering of credits on some fairly obscure projects, namely: this one, Ednah Holt's first single for West End and a 12" by an act called Holt '45. Not sure if he is the same Wiley Hicks behind all these country line dancing videos, but it would be rather interesting if he was..

On the other hand, Tom Savarese, the man who mixed this record was one of the most well-known and prolific DJs and mixers in the disco scene at the time. Some of his biggest mixes include Chic's debut, "Dance, Dance, Dance," Macho's "I'm A Man," and "Love Disco Style" by the Erotic Drum Band to name a few.. Given those credits, the powerful, hard-hitting style of this mix (right up there with his mixes of Chic and Macho, in my opinion) seems to have his stamp all over it.. In addition to his mixing credits, he was awarded by Billboard Magazine a couple of times on account of his DJ skills and was also a key player in the establishment of the Disconet service. DJ's Portal has a much more complete run-down of his history and accomplishments than I could give here, along with some quotes from Tom Savarese himself, so check out that link sometime...

Along with Savarese, the other notable name on the record is it's writer, Lonnie Johnson, who would estabish the Scorpgemi label. On Scorpgemi, Johnson along with disco auteur extraordinaire Patrick Adams would be behind the 1982 Shades of Love classic "Keep In Touch (Body To Body)," featuring Meli'sa Morgan on vocals in what is probably her earliest outing. Additionally, not sure whether it came before or after this one, Johnson also produced a version of "Come Inside My Love" (which I haven't heard yet) in 1979, under the Shades of Love banner featuring another up-and-comer, Lisa Fischer on vocals.

As much as I think this is a great record, "Come Inside.." was probably not the type of record that would have topped any charts. Nevertheless, it's one exemplary piece of the deeper, darker, underground side of disco which is ripe for rediscovery..

Just in case some of you are wondering about the pitched-down versions.. I decided to put those up, since believe it or not, that was the way I had originally discovered the record. My cheap turntable at the time was so beat down it would play records a touch too slow.. After I finally realized that and heard the record at the proper speed, I personally thought the pitched down version (very slightly, I might add) brought out the intensity of this track a lot better.. So thanks to the pitch control on my newer (though still old, but much better) turntable, both are up here in case anyone else out there agrees..




BoogieMan said...

This is a Greaaat album. Great choice for a post and right up the alley of my kind of Disco sound. I only have the original vocal version so, it was nice to be able to grab the instrumental versions. They come in handy for remixing. I have the Shades Of Love version if you'd like a copy. Contact me at dungeondj@gmail.com The only thing is that, the CD I have is lackluster quality. I'd sure like to get my hands on a better sounding copy myself but, it's yours if you want it.

Tommy said...

Thanks for the comment DDJ!

I just sent you an email :)

Anonymous said...

Great site! Thank you very much for the music. But there's no Vocal version of the pitched down version. It is repited the instrumental pitched down one.;)

Tommy said...

Oops.. Sorry about that! The link should be correct now. Thanks for letting me know! :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds great :D

Tommy said...

Hey Funkychris! Glad you think so too :)

Anonymous said...

Bonnie Oliver has a CD on iTunes

Leon said...

I have just got a copy of this after trying the Shades of Love one first on the Scopgemi re-issue CD. The sound quality is a disgrace, sounds like it was copied off a crusty cassette that had sat in someone's car for 20 years. Anyway, this Bonnie Oliver version is totally fantastic, both versions, at any speed !!! And surprisingly it's available for sensible money on discogs.

Excellent info in this post - thanks for digging it all out and writing about it here.

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