dimanche 14 février 2010

Ron Banks And The Dramatics - Dramatically Yours (Volt - 1974)

Ron Banks And The Dramatics - Dramatically Yours

The frequent change in personnal didn't prevent The Dramatics to release three excellent first albums back to back. Dramatically Yours is the least kown but is as good as the two other ones. It just failed to chart any single issued of it.You still find on it that exquisite soul harmonies from one of the best male bands of the time. It always amazed me how a band succeed to be that good while changing always of singers (including lead singers) and without the strong hand of a unique producer behind it, even if they were signed on Stax subsidiary, which, in itself is a sign of quality. For the first time, the songs were not penned by solely Tony Hester, but by other writers as well. Pure magic.

samedi 13 février 2010

The Chi-Lites - (For God's Sake) Give More Power To The People (Brunswick Records - 1971)

The Chi-Lites - (For God's Sake) Give More Power To The People

May I pay your attention please. This album is a masterpiece. The best album of a band that has never been this well inspired and will never be that well inspired again. It just contains one of the best uplifting soul song ever written, a beautiful masterpiece that stand well along What's Going On and A Change Is Gonna Come, Have You Seen Her. A vocal chicagoan quatuor, The Chi-Lites were already well known for their lush love songs. But with this album, with a blazing and massive production clearly inspired by Curtis Mayfield or the psychedelic sound Norman Whitfield created for The Temptations, they inject black power consciousness in their otherwise unoffensive love songs. Their vocal combines perfectly and for once the strings never sound cheesy. All this render the kind of album that you want to listen very loud to make you happy and hope better tomorrows.

mardi 9 février 2010

The Isley Brothers - Winner Takes All (T-Neck Records - 1979)

The Isley Brothers - Winner Takes All

Another one from my favorite band of brothers. In fact, I am trying to collect their entire discography actually so you might find them often posted. This one wear the title of capitalism system number one rule. It allowed the Isley Brothers to capitalize on their sole name. They didn't want to break the rules, with their double album Winner Takes All: they just wanted to make money, doing what they've been known for doing well. Ernie Isley, Marvin Isley, Chris Jasper, Rudolph Isley , O.'Kelly Isley and Ronald Isley released very well executed and nice love downtempo songs for the ladies with a few funky and disco joints just for the charts and the clubs. A classic and unavoidable strategy in R&B, that still works nowadays.

samedi 6 février 2010

The Mighty Sparrow - Hot And Sweet (Warner Bros. Records - 1974)

The Mighty Sparrow - Hot And Sweet

If you must possess only one calypso album, so this must be this one. Maybe because it's one of the best and most accessible work of The Mighty Sparrow, dubbed the "Calypso King Of The World". Probably one of the greatest entertainer of the small Trinidad music scene, The Mighty Spparow have been dominating the calypso music for the last 50 years. But Hot And Sweet doesn't really sound just like an exotica curiosity, the kind of music you find OK during your vacations in the sun but just cheesy once back at home. Produced by überproducer Van Dyke Parks, with arrangements by Earl Rodney and orchestrations from Asquith Clarke, Hot And Sweet is strong on percussions and horns but incorporates pop, boogaloo and salsa influences. Probably quickly recorded in only a couple of sessions, the album was then reworked in studio by Van Dyke Parks. This album is just an incredible breath of sun in a cold and long winter.