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10
Oct

A-Ha – Scoundrel Days (1986)

a-ha - scoundrel days

Artist:  A-Ha
Title:  Scoundrel Days
Release:  1986
Format:  LP
Label:  Warner Bros. Records
Catalog#  925501-1

“Scoundrel Days” is the second album by A-ha. It was released on 6 October 1986.
While not quite as strong as the band’s debut, “Scoundrel Days” is still a-ha succeeding as a marketed “pretty boy” band which can connect musically and lyrically as much as any musical sacred cow. The opening two songs alone make for one of the best one-two opening punches around: the tense edge of the title track, featuring one of Morten Harket’s soaring vocals during the chorus and a crisp, pristine punch in the music, and “The Swing of Things,” a moody, elegant number with a beautiful synth/guitar arrangement (plus some fine drumming courtesy of studio pro Michael Sturgis) and utterly lovelorn lyrical sentiments that balance on the edge of being overheated without quite going over. Although the rest of the disc never quite hits as high as the opening, it comes close more often than not. A definite downturn is the band’s occasional attempts to try and prove themselves as a “real” band by rocking out, as on “I’ve Been Losing You” there’s really no need for it, and as a result they sound much more “fake,” ironically enough. Other songs can perhaps only be explained by the need to translate lyrics “We’re Looking for the Whales” isn’t an environmental anthem, and neither is “Cry Wolf,” but both also don’t really succeed in using nature as romantic metaphor. When a-ha are on, though, they’re on “October” snakes along on a cool bass/keyboard arrangement and a whispery vocal from Harket; “Maybe Maybe” is a quirky little pop number that’s engagingly goofy; while “Soft Rains of April” captures the band at its most dramatic, with the string synths giving Harket a perfect bed to launch into a lovely vocal, concluding with a sudden, hushed whisper.

 

Side one
1.  Scoundrel Days  (3:56)
2.  The Swing of Things  (4:14)
3.  I’ve Been Losing You  (4:24)
4.  October  (3:48)
5.  Manhattan Skyline  (4:52)

Side two
1.  Cry Wolf  (4:05)
2.  We’re Looking for the Whales  (3:39)
3.  The Weight Of The Wind  (3:57)
4.  Maybe, Maybe  (2:34)
5.  Soft Rains of April  (3:12)

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10
Oct

Commodores – 13 (1983)

commodores - 13

Artist:  Commodores
Title:  13
Release:  1983
Format:  LP
Label:  Motown Records
Catalog#  542045

“Commodores – 13″ is the tenth studio album by the Commodores, released in 1983. It is their first album after Lionel Richie left the group, and their last album with guitarist Thomas McClary before his departure from the band.
The lead vocals are handled by Walter Orange, Thomas McClary, and the Mean Machine’s Harold Hudson, who was an interim vocalist rather than an official full-time vocalist. Not surprisingly, the Commodores cover both their R&B bases and their pop bases, getting into everything from sleek keyboard funk (“Touchdown,” “Nothing Like a Woman”) to adult contemporary ballads (“Only You”). Meanwhile, “Ooo Woman You,” which McClary co-wrote with Melissa Manchester, is a catchy pop/rock number.
The song “Turn Off the Lights” was written as a sequel to 1981’s “Lady (You Bring Me Up)”.

 

Side one
1.  I’m In Love  (4:05)
2.  Turn Off the Lights  (4:20)
3.  Nothing Like a Woman  (4:56)
4.  Captured  (4:37)

Side two
1.  Touchdown  (4:30)
2.  Welcome Home  (4:20)
3.  Ooo, Woman You  (4:22)
4.  Only You  (4:10)

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8
Oct

Barry White – Change (1982)

barry white - change

Artist:  Barry White
Title:  Change
Release:  1982
Format:  LP
Label:  Unlimited Gold Records
Catalog#  85788

Barry White’s third release (1982) on his own Unlimited Gold label is more an extension of the second, “Sheet Music.” The title cut touts a “change” in the Maestro’s musical direction but such a path doesn’t fit the trademark White sound. Restraining the use of strings and full orchestra, White goes for a funkier sound that, for this listener, just doesn’t work. It wouldn’t be until his end-of-the-decade releases on A&M that he would return to form that made him such a success in the seventies.

 

Side one
1.  Change  (6:12)
2.  Turnin’ On, Tunin’ In (To Your Love)  (5:13)
3.  Let’s Make Tonight (An Evening To Remember)  (5:09)
4.  Don’t Tell Me About Heartaches  (6:52)

Side two
1.  Passion  (6:58)
2.  I’ve Got That Love Fever  (5:11)
3.  I Like You, You Like Me  (5:30)
4.  It’s All About Love  (4:20)

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7
Oct

Kim Carnes – Mistaken Identity (1981)

kim carnes - mistaken identity

Artist:  Kim Carnes
Title:  Mistaken Identity
Release:  1981
Format:  LP
Label:  EMI America Records
Catalog#  1A 062-400008

“Mistaken Identity” her 6th album, should have established Kim Carnes as a huge international star. Her Rod Stewart rasp, affiliation with Kenny Rogers, management by Ken Kragen when he was arguably at his peak, makes one wonder why the across-the-board success of “Bette Davis Eyes” couldn’t be duplicated. Val Garay certainly did a good job on “Mistaken Identity”. It’s not that the other Donna Weiss/Jackie DeShannon tune, “Hit and Run,” which follows “Bette Davis Eyes,” doesn’t have a good performance; it does. The problem with the “Mistaken Identity” album is that everything on it stands in the shadows of a masterpiece. Carnes is just brilliant on her solo composition, “Mistaken Identity, and it is subtle and smart enough to have crossed over to adult contemporary and jazz formats. Frankie Miller’s “When I’m Away From You” sounds like Rod Stewart doing “True Blue” those upfront snare drums and a hook as strong as an undertow.
“Draw of the Cards” plays like a mellow dance number, aimed at a new wave audience.
Wendy Waldman, Carnes, and her husband, Dave Ellingson, craft “Break the Rules Tonite (Out of School),” but it is just too much of a diversion on an album that tests the waters of different rock genres. Flirting with Leslie West-style hard rock is not as appealing to her audience as the beautifully crafted Tom Snow/Dean Pitchford tune “Don’t Call It Love.” Her other solo composition, “Miss You Tonite,” is more the style we expect, and Carnes’ beautiful piano work on Richard Stekol’s “My Old Pals” brings the album to a proper conclusion.

 

Side one
1.  Bette Davis Eyes  (3:47)
2.  Hit And Run  (3:17)
3.  Mistaken Indentity  (4:49)
4.  When I’m Away From You  (3:36)
5.  Draw Of The Cards  (4:54)

Side two
1.  Break The Rules Tonite (Out Of School)  (3:17)
2.  Still Hold On  (4:39)
3.  Don’t Call It Love  (3:09)
4.  Miss You Tonite  (5:12)
5.  My Old Pals  (3:19)

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7
Oct

George Benson – Give Me The Night (1980)

george benson - give me the night

Artist:  George Benson
Title:  Give Me The Night
Release:  1980
Format:  LP
Label:  Warner Bros. Records
Catalog#  WB 56823

This 1980 release, the first on producer Quincy Jones’ Quest label, is one of George Benson’s best. “Give Me The Night” is an album packed with one great pop tune after another finding Benson at his vocal best. The hit songs range from “Love X Love” to “Moody’s Mood” to the title track, proving that he can do more than just make his guitar sing.
Benson’s guitar now plays a subsidiary role only two of the ten tracks are instrumentals but Q has him play terrific fills behind the vocals and in the gaps, and the engineering gives his tone a variety of striking, new, full-sounding timbres. The instrumentals themselves are marvelous: “Off Broadway” is driving and danceable, and Ivan Lins’ “Dinorah, Dinorah” grows increasingly seductive with each play.
He sings with versatility and sensitivity, rivaling just about any big jazz vocalist. Only two of the ten tracks are instrumentals, and those too are excellent pieces where Benson’s playing will make even a modern day jazz skeptic take note. This recording features a slew of heavyweights including Lee Ritenour, Herbie Hancock, Greg Philinganes and Patti Austin. Quincy Jones provides rhythm, synthesizer and vocal arrangements for several pieces.

 

Side one
1.  Love X Love  (4:45)
2.  Off Broadway  (5:23)
3.  Moody’s Mood  (3:24)
4.  Give Me the Night  (5:01)

Side two
1.  What’s On Your Mind  (4:02)
2.  Dinorah, Dinorah  (3:39)
3.  Love Dance  (3:18)
4.  Star of a Story (X)  (4:42)
5.  Midnight Love Affair  (3:31)
6.  Turn Out the Lamplight  (4:43)

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6
Oct

Michael Jackson – Off The Wall (1979)

michael jackson - off the wall

Artist:  Michael Jackson
Title:  Off The Wall
Release:  1979
Format:  LP
Label:  Epic Records
Catalog#  EPC 83468

“Off The Wall” is the fifth studio album by the American recording artist Michael Jackson, released August 10, 1979 on Epic Records, after Jackson’s critically well-received film performance in “The Wiz”. While working on that project, Jackson and Quincy Jones had become friends, and Jones agreed to work with Jackson on his next studio album. Recording sessions took place between December 1978 and June 1979 at Allen Zentz Recording, Westlake Recording Studios, and Cherokee Studios in Los Angeles, California. Jackson collaborated with a number of other writers and performers such as Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Rod Temperton. Five singles were released from the album. Jackson wrote three of the songs himself, including the Platinum-certified lead single, “Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough”. The record was a departure from Jackson’s previous work for Motown.

 

Side one
1.  Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough  (6:02)
2.  Rock With You  (3:38)
3.  Working Day And Night  (5:12)
4.  Get On The Floor  (4:44)

Side two
1.  Off The Wall  (4:04)
2.  Girlfriend  (3:04)
3.  She’s Out Of My Life  (3:36)
4.  I Can’t Help It  (4:27)
5.  It’s The Falling In Love  (3:46)
6.  Burn This Disco Out  (3:38)

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5
Oct

AC/DC – If You Want Blood You´ve Got It (1978)

acdc - if you want blood

Artist:  AC/DC
Title:  If You Want Blood You´ve Got It
Release:  1978
Format:  LP
Label:  Atlantic
Catalog#  ATL 50532

AC/DC was fast becoming one of rock’s top live acts by the late ’70s. Few others could match the band’s electrifying live performances: Angus Young’s never-ending energy and wise-ass antics, Bon Scott’s whiskey-soaked vocals, and the rest of the band’s penchant for nailing simple, yet extremely effective and memorable, riffs and grooves. While most other rock bands of the era were busy experimenting with disco or creating studio-perfected epics, AC/DC was one of the few specializing in raw and bluesy hard rock, as evidenced by 1978’s live set, “If You Want Blood You’ve Got It”. Recorded during their world tour in support of their “Powerage” album, “If You Want Blood” contains many of AC/DC’s best compositions up until that point: “Bad Boy Boogie” (complete with the break-down section in which Young would “strip”), “The Jack,” “Problem Child,” “Whole Lotta Rosie,” “High Voltage,” “Let There Be Rock,” and “Rocker”.

 

Side one
1.  Riff Raff  (5:59)
2.  Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be  (4:10)
3.  Bad Boy Boogie  (7:29)
4.  The Jack  (5:48)
5.  Problem Child  (4:40)

Side two
1.  Whole Lotta Rosie  (4:05)
2.  Rock ‘n’ Roll Damnation  (3:41)
3.  High Voltage  (5:05)
4.  Let There Be Rock  (8:33)
5.  Rocker  (3:24)

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4
Oct

Santana – Moonflower (1977)

santana - moonflower

Artist:  Santana
Title:  Moonflower
Release:  1977
Format:  2LP
Label:  CBS Records
Catalog#  88272

“Moonflower” is a 1977 studio and live double album by Santana. The recording features both studio and live tracks, which are interspersed with one another throughout the album. It is perhaps the group’s most popular live album. It displays a mix between the fusion of Latin and blues-rock styles of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and the much more experimental and spiritual jazz fusion sound that characterized the band’s mid-1970s work. The live material was recorded during the supporting tour for the Festival album, which displayed a similar mix of styles, and many of the album’s songs are featured here namely, the three song medley which opens Festival.
A cover version of the Zombies’ mid-1960s hit song “She’s Not There” and “I´ll Be Waiting” were released as singles.

 

Side one
1.  Dawn/Go Within  (2:44)  (studio)
2.  Carnaval  (2:17)  (live)
3.  Let the Children Play  (2:37)  (live)
4.  Jugando  (2:09)  (live)
5.  I’ll Be Waiting  (5:20)  (studio)
6.  Zulu  (3:25)  (studio)

Side two
1.  Bahia (1:37) (studio)
2.  Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen  (6:32)  (live)
3.  Dance Sister Dance (Baila Mi Hermana)  (7:45)  (live)
4.  Europa (Earth’s Cry Heaven’s Smile)  (6:07)  (live)

Side three
1.  She’s Not There  (4:09)  (studio)
2.  Flor d’Luna (Moonflower)  (5:01)  (studio)
3.  Soul Sacrifice/Head, Hands & Feet  (14:01)  (live)

Side four
1.  El Morocco  (5:05 ) (studio)
2.  Transcendence  (5:13)  (studio)
3.  Savor/Toussaint L’Overture  (12:56)  (live)

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3
Oct

Paul Simon – Still Crazy After All These Years (1975)

paul simon - still crazy after all these years

Artist:  Paul Simon
Title:  Still Crazy After All These Years
Release:  1975
Format:  LP
Label:  CBS Records
Catalog#  86001

“Still Crazy After All These Years” is the fourth studio album by Paul Simon. Recorded in 1975.
Where Simon had taken an eclectic approach before, delving into a variety of musical styles and recording all over the world, Still Crazy found him working for the most part with a group of jazz-pop New York session players, though he did do a couple of tracks (“My Little Town” and “Still Crazy After All These Years”) with the Muscle Shoals rhythm section that had appeared on Rhymin’ Simon and another (“Gone at Last”) returned to the gospel style of earlier songs like “Loves Me Like a Rock.” Of course, “My Little Town” also marked a return to working with Art Garfunkel, and another Top Ten entry for Simon & Garfunkel. But the overall feel of Still Crazy was of a jazzy style subtly augmented with strings and horns. Perhaps more striking, however, was Simon’s lyrical approach. Where Rhymin’ Simon was the work of a confident family man, Still Crazy came off as a post-divorce album, its songs reeking of smug self-satisfaction and romantic disillusionment.

 

Side one
1.  Still Crazy After All These Years  (3:26)
2.  My Little Town  (3:51)
3.  I Do It for Your Love  (3:35)
4.  50 Ways to Leave Your Lover  (3:37)
5.  Night Game  (2:58)

Side two
1.  Gone at Last  (3:40)
2.  Some Folks’ Lives Roll Easy  (3:14)
3. Have a Good Time  (3:26)
4.  You’re Kind  (3:20)
5.  Silent Eyes  (4:12)

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29
Sep

Rosie Vela – Zazu (1986)

rosie vela - zazu

Artist:  Rosie Vela
Title:  Zazu
Release:  1986
Format:  LP
Label:  A&M Records
Catalog#  395016-1

When fashion model Rosie Vela branched out into singing and songwriting with her debut album Zazu, skeptics suspected that she was just another pretty face who was trying to get by on her looks. But truth be told, “Zazu” is a solid pop/rock effort that could be described as an interesting combination of Joni Mitchell and Steely Dan. Vela doesn’t have a great voice her voice is small and thin, but like jazz great Chet Baker, she demonstrates that you don’t have to have a fantastic vocal range to be expressive and deliver a meaningful album. Favoring a relaxed, cool-toned style of singing, Vela also demonstrates that she’s a talented songwriter in fact, she wrote most of the songs herself. Mitchell and Steely Dan are obviously major influences, and the strong Steely Dan influence isn’t surprising when you consider that Zazu was produced by Gary Katz (who is best known for his work with that group) and that former Dan members Donald Fagen (keyboards) and Walter Becker (guitar) play on many of the songs. Vela showed a lot of promise on this album, which wasn’t the big seller it should have been.

 

Side one
1.  Fool’s Paradise  (4:00)
2.  Magic Smile  (4:24)
3.  Interlude  (3:55)
4.  Tonto  (5:38)

Side two
1.  Sunday  (4:31)
2.  Taxi  (3:25)
3.  2nd Emotion  (4:46)
4.  Boxs  (3:52)
5.  Zazu  (4:46)

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8
Sep

The Alan Parsons Project – Eve (1979)

alan parosns project - eve

Artist:  The Alan Parsons Project
Title:  Eve
Release:  1979
Format:  LP
Label:  Arista Records
Catalog#  5C 062-63063

“Eve” is the fourth album by progressive rock band The Alan Parsons Project. It was released in 1979 .
For the most part, 1979’s “Eve” is somewhat overlooked as being one of the Alan Parsons Project’s finest work, when in fact it involves some of this group’s most intricate songs. The album’s concept deals with the female’s overpowering effect on man. Each song touches on her ability to dissect the male ego, especially through sexual means, originating with Eve’s tempting Adam in the beginning of time. Not only does this idea gain strength as the album progresses, but a musical battle of the sexes begins to arise through each song. The gorgeous “You Won’t Be There” spotlights man’s insecurity. Sung by Dave Townsend, its melodramatic feel sets a perfect tone. The classically enhanced “Winding Me Up” follows suit, based on a woman’s ability to dominate her mate and opening up with sound of a wind-up doll being cranked. Other gems include the bitter but forceful “Damned If I Do” sung by Lenny Zakatek, and the dominating fury of “Lucifer,” a powerful instrumental. Even the loutish “You Lie Down with Dogs” bears wit with its gender inclined mud-slinging. The female vocalists, Lesley Duncan and Clare Torry do a splendid job of representing the females point of view throughout the album. Not only does “Eve” solidify its main idea, but the songs are highly entertaining with catchy rhythms and intelligent lyrics. Musically, the tempo appealingly switches back and forth from slow to quick, as does the temperament of the album.

 

Side one
1.  Lucifer (instrumental)  (5:09)
2.  You Lie Down with Dogs (lead vocal: Lenny Zakatek)  (3:47)
3.  I’d Rather Be a Man (lead vocal: David Paton)  (3:53)
4.  You Won’t Be There (lead vocal: Dave Townsend)  (3:34)
5.  Winding Me Up (lead vocal: Chris Rainbow)  (4:04)

Side two
1.  Damned If I Do (lead vocal: Lenny Zakatek)  (4:50)
2.  Don’t Hold Back (lead vocal: Clare Torry)  (3:37)
3.  Secret Garden (instrumental)  (4:41)
4.  If I Could Change Your Mind (lead vocal: Lesley Duncan)  (5:49)

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8
Sep

Santa Esmeralda – Don´t Let Me Be Miss Understood (1977)

santa esmeralda - don´t let me be miss understood

Artist:  Santa Esmeralda
Title:  Don´t Let Me Be Miss Understood
Release:  1977
Format:  LP
Label:  Philips Records
Catalog#  9101149

As disco became an important part of the international music business, European producers began working in exotic flavors into the disco beat to create unique and competitive recordings. A good example of this trend is Santa Esmeralda, a Spanish-themed studio group that wove elements of flamenco, salsa, and other Latin musical styles into its Euro-disco sound. Although the group’s sound was about as genuinely Spanish as Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass (Santa Esmeralda was the brainchild of French record producers), the result was a crossover success that spawned several club-favorite albums and a notable pop hit in the band’s Latinized cover of “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.”
Originally written in 1964 for Nina Simone, her understated version had failed to chart and the song was picked up by rock group The Animals the following year.

 

Side one
1.  Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood + Esmeralda Suite  (16:05)

Side two
1.  Gloria  (3:36)
2.  You’re My Everything  (5:40)
3.  Black Pot  (7:12)

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8
Sep

Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – Nine Tonight (1981)

bob seger - nine tonight

Artist:  Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
Title:  Nine Tonight
Year:  1981
Format:  2LP
Label:  Capitol Records
Catalog#  400046

“Nine Tonight” is a live album by American rock band Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, released in 1981. The album was recorded at Cobo Hall in Detroit, Michigan, in June 1980 and at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts in October 1980.
A live album, 1976’s exceptional “Live Bullet”, had launched Bob Seger’s career, and Seger returned to the format a second time five years later with 1981’s “Nine Tonight”. The album is comprised of versions of songs from Seger’s previous three best-sellers: 1976’s “Night Moves”, 1978’s “Stranger in Town”, and 1980’s “Against the Wind”. While Seger and his Silver Bullet Band can stretch out in a concert setting, the live versions here stick pretty close to their original studio versions. The cut of “Old Time Rock & Roll” included here proves to be even better than the original, while such Seger standards as “Against the Wind,” “Night Moves,” and “Rock & Roll Never Forgets” also prove to be highlights.

 

Side one
1.  Nine Tonight  (5:14)
2.  Tryin’ To Live My Life Without You  (4:03)
3.  You’ll Accomp’ny Me  (4:12)
4.  Hollywood Nights  (4:49)

Side two
1.  Old Time Rock & Roll  (5:17)
2.  Mainstreet  (4:12)
3.  Against the Wind  (5:27)
4.  The Fire Down Below  (4:47)

Side three
1.  Her Strut  (3:57)
2.  Feel Like a Number  (4:10)
3.  Fire Lake  (3:51)
4.  Betty Lou’s Gettin’ Out Tonight  (2:59)
5.  We’ve Got Tonight  (4:55)

Side four
1.  Night Moves  (5:44)
2.  Rock and Roll Never Forgets  (3:35)
3.  Let It Rock  (10:36)

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8
Sep

Supertramp – Paris (1980)

supertramp - paris

Artist:  Supertramp
Title:  Paris
Release:  1980
Label:  A&M Records
Format:  2LP
Catalog#  AMLM 66702

“Paris” is a live album by progressive rock band Supertramp, released in 1980. The album was recorded on Supertramp’s Breakfast in America tour in November 1979 in Paris, France at the Pavillon de Paris, a venue which was once a slaughterhouse. The Paris album was originally going to be called “Roadworks” and to be recorded in Quebec City, Canada, but A&M wanted them to record in a “mainstream city
The album’s setlist contains almost all of Crime of the Century (except for “If Everyone Was Listening”), three songs from Crisis? What Crisis?, two from Even in the Quietest Moments, three from Breakfast in America plus one new track “You Started Laughing” (originally the B-side to the track “Lady” from Crisis? What Crisis?).

 

Side one
1.  School (Lead vocals: Roger Hodgson with Rick Davies)  (5:41)
2.  Ain’t Nobody But Me (Lead vocals: Rick Davies)  (5:24)
3.  The Logical Song (Lead vocals: Roger Hodgson)  (3:56)
4.  Bloody Well Right (Lead vocals: Rick Davies)  (7:23)

Side two
1.  Breakfast In America (Lead vocals: Roger Hodgson)  (3:57)
2.  You Started Laughing (Lead vocals: Rick Davies)  (4:02)
3.  Hide In Your Shell (Lead vocals: Roger Hodgson)  (6:54)
4.  From Now On (Lead vocals: Rick Davies with Roger Hodgson)  (7:05)

Side three
1.  Dreamer (Lead vocals: Roger Hodgson with Rick Davies ) (3:44)
2.  Rudy (Lead vocals: Rick Davies plus Roger Hodgson)  (7:08)
3.  A Soapbox Opera (Lead vocals: Roger Hodgson)  (4:51)
4.  Asylum (Lead vocals: Rick Davies plus Roger Hodgson)  (6:51)

Side four
1.  Take the Long Way Home (Lead vocals: Roger Hodgson)  (4:57)
2.  Fool’s Overture (Lead vocals: Roger Hodgson)  (10:57)
3.  Two of Us (Lead vocals: Roger Hodgson)  (1:25)
4.  Crime Of The Century (Lead vocals: Rick Davies)  (6:31)

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8
Sep

Val Young – Seduction (1985)

val young - seduction

Artist:  Val Young
Title:  Seduction
Release:  1985
Format:  LP
Label:  Gordy Records
Catalog#  ZL 72387

Val Young (also known as “Lady V”), is an urban/dance-pop artist from Detroit, Michigan, who achieved success during the 1980s.
She was discovered by George Clinton, who hired her as a background vocalist in 1977 for The Brides of Funkenstein, one of the many acts in his Funkadelic stable. In 1980, she recorded and toured with Roy Ayers, and became a background vocalist for The Gap Band.
It wasn’t until she met Rick James that she became popular. James promoted her as the “Black Marilyn Monroe” and brought Young to Berry Gordy, who signed her to Motown Records on James’ recommendation. Rick James produced her debut album “Seduction” which was released in 1985, it included the singles “Mind Games” and the title track “Seduction”, as well as “Piece of My Heart” and “If You Should Ever Be Lonely”, which were successful follow-ups in 1986.

 

Side one
1.  Mind Games  (4:01)
2.  If You Should Ever Be Lonely  (3:52)
3.  Let’s Fall In Love  (3:30)
4.  Tellin’ Me Lies  (3:36)
5.  Come Hang Out  (4:32)

Side two
1.  Seduction (Vocals: Rick James)  (6:40)
2.  Piece Of My Heart  (4:45)
3.  Waiting For You  (3:48)
4.  Make Up Your Mind  (4:46)

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8
Sep

Al Stewart – Time Passages (1978)

al stewart - time passages

Artist:  Al Stewart
Title:  Time Passages
Release:  1978
Format:  LP
Label:  RCA Records
Catalog#  PL-25173

“Time Passages” is the eighth studio album by Al Stewart, released in 1978. It is the follow-up to his 1976 album “Year of the Cat”. The album, like its predecessor, was produced by Alan Parsons.
“Year of the Cat” brought Al Stewart a genuine worldwide smash with its title track, and for its successor, he did make a few concessions. These, however, were slight — just a slight increase of soft rock productions, an enhancement of the lushness that marked not only “Year of the Cat” but also “Modern Times”. These happened to be welcome adjustments to Stewart’s sound, since they increased the dreamy continental elegance at the core of his work. And that’s why “Time Passages” is the equal of “Year of the Cat” — it may be more streamlined, but the adjustments to his sound and the concessions to the mainstream just increase the soft grace of his eloquent historical pop epics. It’s possible to view this as too precious, because it is pitched at an audience who believes the common-day concerns of pop are piffle, but this is exceptionally well-crafted, from Stewart’s songs, where even three-minute songs seem like epics, to Alan Parsons’ cinematic arrangements and productions. This added concentration on the texture of the recording, ensuring that it was clean, spacious, and gentle, with a welcoming surface. Of course, this means that “Time Passages” can work very well as background music, but it also reveals much upon concentrated listening.

 

Side one
1.  Time Passages  (6:41)
2.  Valentina Way  (4:04)
3.  Life in Dark Water  (5:49)
4.  A Man for All Seasons  (5:50)

Side two
1.  Almost Lucy  (3:43)
2.  The Palace of Versailles  (5:20)
3.  Timeless Skies  (3:34)
4.  Song on the Radio  (6:22)
5.  End of the Day  (3:11)

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8
Sep

Atlanta Rhythm Section – Quinella (1981)

atlanta rhythm section - quinella

Artist:  Atlanta Rhythm Section
Title:  Quinella
Release:  1981
Format:  LP
Label:  CBS Records
Catalog#  85320

The group’s only release for Columbia is a superb piece of Southern rock, timeless in its lyrical sensibilities, which are all voiced in a smoothly raspy manner by lead singer Ronnie Hammond (backed by his own overdubs and Buddy Buie). Barry Bailey’s and J.R. Cobb’s guitars grind and crunch along, and Paul Goddard and Roy Yeager’s bass and drums provide a rock-hard foundation to this celebration of Southern manhood. The songs are just about perfectly crafted, never outstaying their welcome or lasting longer than they can sustain interest. A few of the more lyrical numbers, like the harmony-driven “Alien,” offer considerable melodic charm, almost venturing into CSN territory on their choruses (featuring Steve McRay as guest back-up singer) coupled with the first-rate playing, they’re the surprising highlights of this hard rocking classic.

 

Side one
1.  Homesick  (4:16)
2.  Quinella  (5:28)
3.  Alien  (4:55)
4.  Higher  (4:12)

Side two
1.  You’re So Strong  (5:02)
2.  Outlaw Music  (5:03)
3.  Pretty Girl  (3:31)
4.  Southern Exposure  (2:53)
5.  Going to Shangri-La  (3:44)

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8
Sep

Little River Band – Time Exposure (1981)

little river band - time exposure

Artist:  Little River Band
Title:  Time Exposure
Year:  1981
Format:  LP
Label:  Capitol Records
Catalog#  1C 064-400042

“Time Exposure” is the sixth studio album by the Little River Band.
It was the last album recorded with lead singer Glenn Shorrock before he was replaced with John Farnham. Incidentally, Shorrock would later return and record a few more albums with Little River Band. But “Time Exposure” marks the end of an era.
The album opens with the Wayne Nelson sung “Night Owls” and follows with two more hit singles “Man On Your Mind”, and “Take It Easy On Me”. And while none of the other songs on the album were released as singles, many of them including “Full Circle and “Just Say That You Love Me” easily could have been released as singles. In addition to Shorrock’s lead vocals the vocal tandem of David Briggs, Beeb Birtles, and Graham Goble provide harmonies so tight they sing as one. Where the Eagles were likely better musicians, I’d argue that Little River Band’s vocal harmonies were superior to those of the Eagles. There was a tightness, a cohesiveness that was pure vocal magic.

 

Side one
1.  The Night Owls  (5:16)
2.  Man on Your Mind  (4:14)
3.  Take It Easy on Me  (3:45)
4.  Ballerina  (4:02)
5.  Love Will Survive  (4:38)

Side two
1.  Full Circle  (1:54)
2.  Just Say That You Love Me  (3:59)
3.  Suicide Boulevard  (3:23)
4.  Orbit Zero  (4:27)
5.  Don’t Let the Needle Win  (3:57)
6.  Guiding Light  (3:36)

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8
Sep

Yes – Drama (1980)

yes - drama

Artist:  Yes
Title:  Drama
Release:  1980
Format:  LP
Label:  Atlantic Records
Catalog#  ATL 50736

“Drama” is the tenth studio album by British progressive rock group Yes. It is the first of two Yes albums without vocalist Jon Anderson. In early 1980, after rehearsing music for the follow-up to the tepidly-received “Tormato”, both Anderson and Rick Wakeman departed the band over creative and financial differences.
For this one album, ex-Buggles Geoffrey Downes and Trevor Horn were drafted in to replace Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman. It rocks harder than other Yes albums, and for classically inclined fans, it was a jarring departure; but it was a harbinger of Yes and Asia albums to come. A newly emboldened Chris Squire lays down aggressive rhythms with Alan White, and Steve Howe eschews his usual acoustic rags and flamenco licks for a more metallic approach, opting for sheets of electric sound. Prime cuts include the doom-laden “Machine Messiah” and the manic ska inflections of “Tempus Fugit.” Despite the promise of this new material, the band soon fell apart; Horn went into production, Howe and Downes joined Asia, and Squire and White toyed and then gave up on a pair-up with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, which was to be titled XYZ (i.e., Ex-Yes and Zeppelin).

 

Side one
1.  Machine Messiah  (10:27)
2.  White Car  (1:21)
3.  Does It Really Happen?  (6:35)

Side two
1.  Into the Lens  (8:33)
2.  Run Through the Light  (4:43)
3.  Tempus Fugit  (5:15)

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8
Sep

Bob Dylan – Slow Train Coming (1979)

bob dylan - slow train coming

Artist:  Bob Dylan
Title:  Slow Train Coming
Release:  1979
Format:  LP
Label:  CBS Records
Catalog#  86095

“Slow Train Coming” is singer-songwriter Bob Dylan’s 19th studio album, released by Columbia Records in August 1979. Mark Knopfler and Pick Withers from Dire Straits are also contributed to this album.
“Slow Train Coming” was exactly that-this album was more inevitable than most people realized, and a turning point in the career of Bob Dylan, not just commercially but, obviously, spiritually.
“Slow Train Coming” is a joy to listen to because it finds Dylan finally at some form of peace. The last time he’d sounded this satisfied was probably on the laid-back country of 1969’s “Nashville Skyline.”
He had been singing about the elements found in this album for years. Only now, Dylan knew that it was God who gave him the gift to do so.. Dylan is more focused and diligent on “Slow Train Coming” than anything he had ever recorded before, and this clear-headed motivation would even carry into his albums of the 80s and 90s, whether they were Christian or secular. Songs like ‘When You Gonna Wake Up’ and the subtle-but-anthemic ‘Gotta Serve Somebody’ are no more “judgemental” than the lyrics of ‘Like a Rolling Stone.’ As a matter of fact, none of his work was judgemental, they are simply Dylan describing the kinds of characters and truths life is full of. Tracks like ‘Precious Angel’ and ‘Slow Train’ meanwhile are the peaks of Bob Dylan’s goal on this album.

 

Side one
1.  Gotta Serve Somebody  ( 5:22)
2.  Precious Angel  (6:27)
3.  I Believe in You  (5:02)
4.  Slow Train  (5:55)

Side two
1.  Gonna Change My Way of Thinking  (5:25)
2.  Do Right to Me Baby (Do Unto Others)  (3:50)
3.  When You Gonna Wake Up  (5:25)
4.  Man Gave Names to All the Animals  (4:23)
5.  When He Returns  (4:30)

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7
Sep

The Philadelphia International All-Stars – Let´s Clean Up The Ghetto (1977)

philadelphia internation al all stars - let´s clean up the ghetto

Artist:  The Philadelphia International All-Stars
Title:  Let´s Clean Up The Ghetto
Release:  1977
Format:  LP
Label:  PIR Records
Catalog#  PIR 82198

Issued in July 1977 as “Let’s Clean Up The Ghetto” by the Philadelphia International All-Stars, this is one of Philly soul’s most socially aware efforts. The album’s title track was a coming together of artists signed to Gamble & Huff’s Philadelphia International Records: Lou Rawls, Billy Paul, Archie Bell, Teddy Pendergrass, Dee Dee Sharp Gamble, and Eddie Levert and Walter Williams of the O’Jays. The profits were allotted to a charity program. Even though the rest of the LP consists of various unreleased tracks, the result is consistent. The brassy “The Big Gangster” by the O’Jays got airplay as an album track. Other highlights are the fervent “Now Is the Time to Do It” by Teddy Pendergrass; the buoyant, optimistic “New World Comin’” by Billy Paul’ and Archie Bell & the Drells’ celebration of seniors, “Old People,” produced by Bunny Sigler.

 

Side one
1.  Lou Rawls – Trade Winds  (3:48)
2.  The Philadelphia International All-Stars – Let’s Clean Up The Ghetto  (8:42)
3.  Dee Dee Sharp Gamble – Ooh Child  (3:32)
4.  Teddy Pendergrass – Now Is The Time  (3:42)
5.  The Three Degrees – Year Of Decision  (2:34)

Side two
1.  The O’Jays – The Big Gangster  (3:50)
2.  Billy Paul – New Day, New World Comin’  (4:30)
3.  Archie Bell & The Drells – Old People  (3:45)
4.  Intruders – Save The Children  (4:12)
5.  Harold Melvin And The Blue Notes – Everybody’s Talkin’  (3:51)

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7
Sep

Soundtrack – The Sting (1974)

soundtrack - the sting

Artist:  Soundtrack
Title:  The Sting
Release:  1974
Format:  LP
Label:  MCA Records
Catalog#  5C 062-95096

The soundtrack to the Paul Newman-Robert Redford blockbuster “The Sting” popularized Scott Joplin’s classic ragtimes for a new generation, thanks to Marvin Hamlisch’s ingenious arrangements and orchestrations. Joplin’s brilliance takes the forefront, which is the way it should be, but it’s easy to underestimate what Hamlisch achieved with his orchestrations. His incidental music fit the period and Joplin’s ragtimes perfectly, and the arrangements of Joplin’s works are faithful to the originals while opening them up for new audiences. And that’s why the soundtrack feels at once timeless and fresh, which is quite a compliment indeed.

 

Side one
1.  Solace (orchestral version)  (3:35)
2.  The Entertainer (orchestral version)  (3:03)
3.  Easy Winners  (2:44)
4.  Hooker’s Hooker  (2:48)
5.  Luther  (3:08)
6.  Pine Apple Rag / Gladiolus Rag medley  (2:32)

Side two
1.  The Entertainer (piano version)  (2:32)
2.  The Glove  (1:46)
3.  Little Girl (Violin Solo Bobby Bruce)  (2:20)
4.  Pine Apple Rag  (2:35)
5.  Merry-Go-Round Music medley: (a) Listen To The Mockingbird, (b) Darling Nellie Gray, (c) Turkey In The Straw  (2:35)
6.  Solace (piano version)  (3:35)
7.  The Entertainer” / The Ragtime Dance medley  (3:45)

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7
Sep

Boston – Don´t Look Back (1978)

boston - don´t look back

Artist:  Boston
Title:  Don´t Look Back
Release:  1978
Format:  LP
Label:  Epic Records
Catalog#  EPC 86057

“Don’t Look Back” is the second studio album by American rock band Boston, released in 1978.
It took two years to complete, and it’s hard to figure out why because it’s almost exactly the same as their debut. The guitars still sound like they are being fed through computers and stacked into great walls of sound by robots, lead singer Brad Delp still sounds like he is ripping his throat out, and the harmony vocals still sound like a choir of androids warbling angelically. Most importantly, the songs are overflowing with hooks, there are plenty of riffs to air guitar to, and the songs stick in your head like dirt on a dog. The main difference lies in the semi-melancholy tone of the record. Boston was a nonstop party of a record but one look at the song titles lets you know that Don’t Look Back is a little different: “A Man I’ll Never Be,” “Used to Bad News,” “Don’t Be Afraid.” These songs reveal a reflective side that was nowhere to be found on Boston. Not to say the record doesn’t rock because it does mightily. “Don’t Look Back” has a killer riff that’s very similar to the timeless riff in “More Than a Feeling,” “Party” is a storming rocker much like “Smokin’” and “It’s Easy” is mellow 70’s AOR at its absolute best. Don’t Look Back is basically Boston, Pt. 2, but don’t let that put you off because even though the band was treading water they were treading it like Esther Williams.

 

Side one
1.  Don’t Look Back  (5:57)
2.  The Journe y (1:46)
3.  It’s Easy  (4:26)
4.  A Man I’ll Never Be  (6:37)

Side two
1.  Feelin’ Satisfied  (4:11)
2.  Party  (4:07)
3.  Used to Bad News  (2:56)
4.  Don’t Be Afraid  (3:48)

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7
Sep

Soundtrack – The Wiz (1978)

soundtrack - the wiz

Artist:  Soundtrack
Title:  The Wiz
Release:  1978
Format:  2LP
Label:  MCA Records
Catalog#  0082.064-2

“The Wiz: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” is the soundtrack album for the 1978 film adaptation of the Broadway musical The Wiz. Although the film was produced for Universal Pictures by Motown Records’ film division, the soundtrack album was issued on MCA Records as a two-LP collection. Chiefly produced by Quincy Jones, “The Wiz soundtrack” features cast performances by the stars of the film, including Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Ted Ross, Mabel King, Theresa Merritt, Thelma Carpenter, and Lena Horne.
The track selection is made up of both songs from the original 1975 Broadway musical by Charlie Smalls and Luther Vandross, as well as new songs written for the film by Quincy Jones, Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson, and Anthony Jackson.
Jones organized a studio band of New York jazz veterans, including Toots Thielemans, Eric Gale, Michael Brecker, and Richard Tee, and of course the cast provides spectacular vocal firepower in the persons of Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. The result was a Top 40, gold-selling album paced by the singles “A Brand New Day”, “Ease On Down The Road” by Diana Ross and Michael Jackson (outperforming the 1975 version by Consumer Rapport), as well the chart single “You Can’t Win,” by Michael Jackson. Much comparison was made between the vocal (not to mention the facial) resemblance between Ross and Jackson; here’s the only place to hear them together.

 

Side one
1.  Main Title (Overture, Part One)  (2:34)
2.  Overture (Part Two)  (2:03)
3.  The Feeling That We Have  (3:30)
4.  Can I Go On?  (1:56)
5.  Glinda’s Theme  (1:09)
6.  He’s The Wizard  (2:52)
7.  Soon As I Get Home/Home  (4:01)

Side two
1.  You Can’t Win  (3:14)
2.  Ease On Down The Road  (3:19)
3.  What Would I Do If I Could Feel?  (2:18)
4.  Slide Some Oil To Me  (2:19)
5.  Ease On Down The Road  (1:30)
6.  (I’m A) Mean One Lion  (2:23)
7.  Ease On Down The Road  (1:24)
8.  Poppy Girls  (3:27)

Side three
1.  Be A Lion  (4:04)
2.  End Of The Yellow Brick Road  (1:01)
3.  Emerald City Sequence (6:41)
4.  So You Wanted To See The Wizard  (2:48)
5.  Is This What Feeling Gets (Dorothy’s Theme)  (3:13)

Side four
1.  Don’t Nobody Bring Me Bad News  (3:01)
2.  A Brand New Day  (7:51)
(a) Liberation Agitato  (0:54)
(b) A Brand New Day (Everybody Rejoice)(Part One)  (2:29)
(c) Liberation Ballet / A Brand New Day (Everybody Rejoice) (Part Two)  (4:23)
3.  Believe In Yourself (Dorothy)  (2:54)
4.  The Good Witch Glinda  (1:10)
5.  Believe In Yourself (Reprise)  (2:13)
6.  Home  (3:27)

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29
Aug

Michael McDonald – If That´s What It Takes (1982)

michael mcdonald - if that´s what it takes

Artist:  Michael Mcdonald
Title:  If That´s What It Takes
Release:  1982
Format:  LP
Label:  Warner Bros. Records
Catalog#  WB 57018

If That’s What It Takes is the name of Michael McDonald’s debut solo album, released in 1982.
West Coast feel-good soul, that’s what this is. Just listen to I Keep Forgettin’ – a song about love gone and the difficulties dealing with it. It’s so uplifting and powerful you realize you will make it through – no matter what.
Michael’s voice is smooth like silk yet at the same time its power knocks you off your feet. His trademark keyboard playing makes you want to get up and change the world for the better. And while I’m at it, just one thing on Louis Johnson, the bass God, on “I keep Forgettin’”. It’s bass/keys Heaven.
It had always been clear Michael would make his own way. He completely changed The Doobie Brothers when he joined them. His unique blend of R&B and West Coast Rock fitted the band perfectly. Sadly it lasted only for four albums.
Michael wrote and or co-wrote all songs and got some of his longtime friends to work with him: Ted Templeman – longtime Doobie Brothers producer, Steve Gadd and Jeff Porcaro drums, Dean Parks, Robben Ford and Steve Lukather guitars, Greg Phillinganes, Michael Boddicker, Michael Omartian and of course Michael McDonald himself keys, Willie Weeks, Louis Johnson and Mike Porcaro bass, Lenny Castro, Bobby LaKind and Paulinho da Costa percussion, Tom Scott and Edgar Winter sax.

 

Side one
1.  Playin’ by the Rules  (4:55)
2.  I Keep Forgettin’  (3:39)
3.  Love Lies  (3:21)
4.  I Gotta Try  (3:53)
5.  I Can Let Go Now  (2:54)

Side two
1.  That’s Why  (4:24)
2.  If That’s What It Takes  (4:17)
3.  No Such Luck  (3:44)
4.  Losin’ End  (4:11)
5.  Believe In It  (4:41)

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