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CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Ron BanksTruly Bad ... CD
Columbia/FTG, 1983. New Copy ... $9.99 13.98
One of the original Dramatics, singer Ron Banks strikes out here on his own – a slept on gem from the early 80s! The set's in a similar modern soul mode to LJ Reynolds, who also worked with him in the group, and was having a bit of a solo career of his own at the time. It's got sort of a D-Train feel to it – with classic male soul vocals over instrumentation that includes some slight electro touches, especially on keyboards and drum programs. Banks keeps the whole thing nice and soulful, thanks to some great vocal work, which you'll hear on the smooth mellow track "Let Love Flow", which has a beautiful down-tempo groove, and a nice two-step beat – plus the other mellow tracks like "Make It Easy On Yourself" and "You and Me". Uptempo club cuts include "Truly Bad", "Zap", and "She's So Good to Me". CD

Close matches2
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Bionic BoogieBionic Boogie (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Polydor/FTG, 1977. Used ... $19.99
The first album by Gregg Diamond's Bionic Boogie group – and a cooker of a set that follows strongly from Gregg's previous Hot Butterfly gem! Luther Vandross isn't on board this time around, but the overall groove is still totally great – upbeat, soaring, and put together with a jazzy undercurrent that really keeps things interesting – far more so than most other mainstream disco sets of the time! Brad Baker – of B Baker Chocolate Company – handled the arrangements – and the grooves spin out nicely from Diamond's keyboards, and a tight mix of strings and jazzy horns. Vocals are from the soulful trio of Gwen Guthrie, Ullanda McCullough, and Zachary Sanders – and titles include "Dance Little Dreamer", "Risky Changes", "Boogie Boo", "We Must Believe In Music", "Feel Like Dancing", and "Don't Lose The Number". CD features 2 bonus tracks – 12" extended mixes of "Dance Little Dreamer" and "Risky Changes". CD
(Out of print, punch through barcode.)

Close matches3
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Bionic BoogieHot Butterfly (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Polydor/FTG, 1978. New Copy ... $15.99 16.98
A dancefloor classic! The album's the second by Gregg Diamond's Bionic Boogie, and head and shoulders above the rest – a sublime blend of soul and club that's hardly been matched again! Diamond manages to make things groove, but never loses sight of the soulful styles that make the record so great – and works here with key contributions from a young Luther Vandross, who gives the album some of the same strong vocal arrangements he brought to his own first two albums on Atlantic! Luther sings lead on the album's legendary track "Hot Butterfly", and works in a group with Cissy Houston on other tracks – sweetly soaring with vocals that go far beyond most disco efforts of the time. Simply sublime, and with classics that include "Hot Butterfly", "Paradise", "Cream (Always Rises To The Top)", "Chains", and "When The Sh*t Hits The Fan (Rocket Pocket)". Includes 4 bonus cuts too – "Hot Butterfly (Jim Burgess disco rmx)", "Chains (Gregg Diamond spectacular rmx)", "Fess Up To The Boogie (Gregg Diamond disco rmx)", and "Chains (Jim Burgess disco rmx)". CD

Close matches4
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
BrickSummer Heat/After 5 ... CD
Bang/FTG, 1981/1982. New Copy ... $15.99 16.98
A massive double-header from Brick – two Columbia albums back to back on a single CD! First up is smoking Summer Heat from Brick – an 80s outing that furthers the tight tight groove they started back in the 70s! Given that Brick were one of the groups who really set the sound for the next generation, they're right at home here – working with some production help from Ray Parker Jr, in a style that bubbles over nicely with tight rhythms and warmer vocal bits – all balanced out nicely, in ways that are better than most of the group's contemporaries! Titles include "Sweat", "Sea Side Vibes", "Sure Feels Good", "Summer Heat", "The Happening", and "Wide Open". After 5 has a classy title, and is a record with grooves that are even classier than usual for Brick – thanks to a style that seems to bring up a jazzy vibe a bit more on some cuts, while still keeping things in the tightly funky mode of their roots! There's definitely a prime Brick sound going on here – that wicked wrapping of bass, keyboards, and drums the group laid down on their debut – but the whole thing's also taken a bit further, too – almost echoing some of the more complicated changes of the 80s groove generation! Titles include "Stick By You", "Let It Roll", "It's A New Day", "Peace Of Mind", "When You Believe", "Free Dancer", and "Wild & Crazy". CD

Close matches5
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Pattie BrooksLove Shook/Our Ms Brooks ... CD
Casablanca/FTG, 1977/1978. New Copy ... $15.99 16.98
A disco double-header! First up is Love Shook – classic disco from Pattie Brooks, and a soaring 70s set that's right up there with the best Casablanca Records grooves of the time! The rhythms here are upbeat and lively – strings mixed in with quick-stepping rhythms, all set to the vocals of Pattie, which have just the right sort of flow to take off nicely in the setting! Titles include "Love Shook", "Let's Make Love To The Music", "Girl Don't Make Me Wait", and a totally cool "Pop Collage Medley", which features bits of "Popcorn" and "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye". Next is Our Ms Brooks – a record that has Pattie reunited with the Soul Galore production team – working with backdrops that are full, but never too overblown – right in that perfect Casablanca mode! Titles include "Heartbreak In Disguise", "After Dark", "This Is The House Where Love Died", and "The Back-up Singer". CD
Also available Love Shook/Our Ms Brooks ... CD 9.99

Close matches6
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Pattie BrooksLove Shook/Our Ms Brooks ... CD
Casablanca/FTG, 1977/1978. Used ... $9.99
A disco double-header! First up is Love Shook – classic disco from Pattie Brooks, and a soaring 70s set that's right up there with the best Casablanca Records grooves of the time! The rhythms here are upbeat and lively – strings mixed in with quick-stepping rhythms, all set to the vocals of Pattie, which have just the right sort of flow to take off nicely in the setting! Titles include "Love Shook", "Let's Make Love To The Music", "Girl Don't Make Me Wait", and a totally cool "Pop Collage Medley", which features bits of "Popcorn" and "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye". Next is Our Ms Brooks – a record that has Pattie reunited with the Soul Galore production team – working with backdrops that are full, but never too overblown – right in that perfect Casablanca mode! Titles include "Heartbreak In Disguise", "After Dark", "This Is The House Where Love Died", and "The Back-up Singer". CD
(Out of print.)
Also available Love Shook/Our Ms Brooks ... CD 15.99

Close matches7
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Keni BurkeChanges (with bonus tracks) ... CD
RCA/FTG, 1981. New Copy ... $9.99 16.98
A standout solo moment from the amazing Keni Burke – an artist who's come a long way from his youthful start in the 5 Stairsteps! Keni had recorded other adult work by the time of this early 80s set, but Changes is easily his best-remembered album – a masterpiece of 80s groove, all arranged and produced by Burke – who also played a fair bit of the music on the set as well! The tunes are upbeat and grooving – often with a rhythm that goes nicely right down the middle, and never tries to be too funky or clubby. This groove is epitomized by Burke's classic "Risin' To The Top" – a tune that's been sampled heavily over the years, to great fame – and which is probably the lasting legacy of this set. But the whole album's totally great – sophisticated 80s groove at its best – with other cuts that include "Who Do You Love", "Shakin", "Can't Get Enough", "Changes", "All Night", and "Hang Tight". CD features bonus tracks – "Shakin (7" mix)", "Can't Get Enough (7" mix)", and "Risin To The Top (7" mix)". CD

Close matches8
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Keni BurkeYou're The Best (with bonus tracks) ... CD
RCA/FTG, 1982. New Copy ... $9.99 16.98
A really wonderful album from Keni Burke – recorded around the same time as his classic Changes set, and in some ways even better than that record! The set's got a fantastic mellow soul feel – lots of tracks that are uptempo, but which manage to hang onto a soulful finish that really sends the whole set home – a groove that's never too forced, and which has keep this one at the top of list of classics over years! Burke's hitting a rare space that we'd only allow to a few – like Leroy Hutson or Webster Lewis. Keni's come a long long way from the 5 Stairsteps by this point – and he's never sounded so great! Titles include "Let Somebody Love You", "You're the Best", "Night Riders", and "Gotta Find My Way Back In Your Heart". Keni produced, wrote, and arranged the whole thing! CD features bonus tracks – "You're The Best (7" mix)", "You're The Best (12" mix)", "Night Riders (7" mix)", "Night Riders (12" mix)", "Let Somebody Love You (7" mix)", and "Let Somebody Love You (inst)". CD

Close matches9
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Jenny BurtonJenny Burton (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Atlantic/FTG, 1985. New Copy ... $9.99 16.98
A classic from Jenny Burton – only the singer's second album as a solo act, but already a set that has Jenny hitting on all burners! The mellow numbers are great – never sleepy or too commercial, but pushed into just the right blend of polish and soul – and the groovers have some electro touches that hint back and Burton's start working with John Robie – modes that are underdone here in ways that hold together a lot more strongly than the usual electro dancefloor cut. Some production is by Maurice Starr – and cuts include "Dancing For My Love", "Bad Habits", "Once In A Lifetime Love", "Load It Up", and "Love Runs Deeper Than Pride". CD features bonus tracks – "Bad Habits (7" version)", "Dancing For My Love (voc)", and "Dancing For My Love (dub)". CD

Close matches10
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
ChampaignHow Bout Us (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Columbia/FTG, 1981. New Copy ... $9.99 16.98
skooA wonderful treasure from the early 80s soul scene – the first album from Champaign, and an instant winner right from the start! The group may not have been one of the bigger names of their time, but they really won a lot of favor with soul listeners over the years – and this album's one that turns up often in collections of top-shelf soul from the period – no surprise, given the classy, careful production – and the mix of jazzy riffing, tight rhythms, and well-crafted vocals – almost enough to put Champaign at the level of Earth Wind & Fire! The sound is just right – very soulful, with less of the too-commercial modes of some of their contemporaries – and titles include "Party People", "Whiplash", "I'm On Fire", "How Bout Us", "Can You Find The Time", "Dancin Together Again", "If One More Morning", and "Lighten Up". CD features bonus 7" versions of "How Bout Us" and "I'm On Fire". CD

Close matches11
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
ChansonTogether We Stand (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Ariola/FTG, 1979. New Copy ... $9.99 16.98
The cover's a bit unassuming, and almost makes this set look like some throwaway disco album – but Chanson's got a lot more to offer than that, and groove tightly here in a really great modern soul vein! The rhythms are strong and bold – forged by the duo of bassist James Jamerson and guitarist David Williams – with a lean vibe that's somewhere in the space of Columbia Records modern soul of the time, with all the depth that might imply – but with plenty of clubby touches too! Key players include Harvey Mason on drums and Donald Myrick on sax – both players who give the record a really top-shelf, all-quality groove. Titles include "Rock Don't Stop", "Sing All Night", "Jack Be Nimble", "Magic Carpet Ride", and "Make It Happen". CD features bonus tracks – "Jack Be Nimble (12" mix)" and "Rock Don't Stop (12" mix)". CD

Close matches12
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Chocolate MilkChocolate Milk (with bonus tracks) ... CD
RCA/FTG, 1976. New Copy ... $13.99
A real mindblower from Chocolate Milk – and a record that really shows the evolution of the sound of New Orleans funk since the 60s! Back in that decade, the groove was being carved out by The Meters with Allen Toussaint – but here, Toussaint's working with his new favorites, Chocolate Milk – the group who did lots of studio backup for the producer on other projects, but who sound really great on their own! The instrumentation is razor-sharp, and mixed with these sly soulful vocals – and Chocolate Milk really balance out mellow funk numbers with tighter, faster cuts – in a way that's a fair bit like the best sounds coming from the Prestige/Fantasy Records scene at the time. Titles include "Party Happy", "Spread A Little Love", "You've Got Your Spell On Me", "Never Ever Do Without You", "Running Away", and "Pluck It". CD features bonus tracks – "Grand Theft (7" mix)", "Girl Callin (7" mix)", and "Say Wont'Cha (7" mix)". CD

Close matches13
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
New Cliff DawsonCliff Dawson ... CD
Boardwalk/FTG, 1982. Used ... $9.99
Smooth soul from Cliff Dawson – a singer as classy as his look on the cover, and definitely a cut above most of the mainstream soul artists of his time! The album's an overlooked gem that's very nicely put together – well recorded, arranged with a subtle flair, and usually done with a warmer sound than you might guess for the vintage of the set – almost like some late 70s underground modern soul set, which is saying plenty to ears like ours! Thor Baldursson did most of the arrangements, but in ways that are much more restrained than his disco years – and titles include "It's Not Me You Love", "Waiting For Your Love", "Betcha Didn't Know", "I Can Love You Better", "Ocean Green Eyes", and "Never Say I Do". CD
(Out of print.)

Close matches14
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
EnchantmentSoft Lights Sweet Music (with bonus track) ... CD
RCA/FTG, 1980. New Copy ... $12.99 13.98
The only RCA album from Enchantment – and a great little set that has the group stretching out from their earlier records on United Artists! The groove here is still awash in the great harmonies we've always loved from the group – and production is by Don Davis, who always has a great ear for preserving the core soul of any act like this – while also helping them focus their sound as well! The mix is quite similar to excellent work Don did with the Dramatics at the end of the 70s – and Enchantment really benefit with a similar ear for a bouncy groove, and that great Davis way of knowing just the right point when to slow things down on an album, too. Titles include "Settin It Out", "I Believe In You", "Moment Of Weakness", "You & Me", "I Can't Be The One", "Soft Lights Sweet Music", and "I Can't Fake It". CD features a bonus 12" mix of "Settin It Out". CD

Close matches15
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Aretha FranklinThrough The Storm (2CD version – with bonus tracks) ... CD
Arista/FTG, 1989. New Copy 2 CDs ... $14.99 15.98
Aretha Franklin at the end of the 80s – capping off a big run of records for Arista with another successful collaboration with Narada Michael Walden! There's a bit more of a groove here than before – a nice bounce on many cuts that almost brings in a slight new jack flavor – but handled with a bit more class, given Walden's legacy – and the album's got a lot of collaborative moments, including appearances from James Brown, Whitney Houston, Elton John, The Four Tops, and Kenny G. Titles include "Gimme Your Love", "Mercy", "It Isn't It Wasn't It Ain't Never Gonna Be", "Through The Storm", "If Ever A Love There Was", "Think 1989", and "Come To Me". 2CD version features 17 more bonus tracks – including an "Aretha Franklin & James Brown Interview", plus a few "purple mix" versions of "Gimme Your Love", with a Paisley Park pedigree – and 11 more mixes of "It Isn't It Wasn't It Ain't Never Gonna Be" – including hip hop, house, new jack, and after hours mixes. CD
Also available Through The Storm ... CD 1.99

Close matches16
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
GQFace To Face (with bonus track) ... CD
Arista/FTG, 1981. New Copy ... $15.99 16.98
Wonderfully solid grooving from GQ – an album issued a few years after their bigger hits, but it's still plenty great and just as worthy! The trio have a wonderful way of laying out a sweet harmony without getting too cloying, nor too poppy – and the best cuts here glide along beautifully in a mellow or midtempo mode! There's a tightness here that reminds us of Tavares or The Main Ingredient at their best – but a bit more modern soul overall, and often with a very slight nod towards the growing 80s groove mode. Titles include "Face To Face", "I Love (The Skin You're In)", "Sad Girl", "Shy Baby", "Shake", "You've Got The Floor", "Dark Side Of The Sun", and "Boogie Shoogie Feelin". This edition from Funky Town Grooves includes the bonus track "Try Smurfin'". CD

Close matches17
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Major HarrisHow Do You Take Your Love ... CD
RCA/FTG, 1978. New Copy ... $9.99 13.98
One of the few 70s albums from the wonderful Major Harris as a solo act – and a lesser-known set that's a great follow up to the Major's previous records for Atlantic! The vibe here is a bit less Philly, but still in that mellow grooving style that works so well for Harris' vocals – a mature modern soul mode, with some excellent production from Jerry Ragovoy, who co-arranged the set with David Matthews. A few of the numbers go for a clubby feel, the best tracks are the mellower ones – which have Harris hitting those mature and personal notes that always made him one of the best romantic male soul singers of his time. Titles include "Lucky Day", "Night Moods", "How Do You Take Your Love", "Pretty Red Lips", "You're So Good You're Bad", "Your Sweet Song", and "This Is Forever". CD

Close matches18
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Michael HendersonDo It All (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Buddah/FTG, 1979. New Copy ... $13.99
Michael Henderson definitely does it all here – mixing jazz and soul and funk with his own strong sense of personality – all at a level that's head and shoulders above most of his contemporaries! Henderson's that rare breed in soul music – part of an elite 70s lineup who were rooted in jazz, able to sing soul, and yet still keep all the depth of their roots in their grooves! At times, Henderson sings with the poise and class of a jazz vocalist – at others, he's got the sensual slink of a R&B giant – always amidst instrumentation that goes way past the obvious, and avoids any of the commercial cliches that were plaguing mainstream soul at the time. There's a really timeless feel to the record – the sort that's kept Henderson at the top of the hip soul stacks for years – and titles include "Wait Until The Rain", "In The Summertime", "Riding", "To Be Loved", "I Do It All", and "Playing On The Real Thing". CD features bonus tracks – 7" mixes of "I Do It All" and "To Be Loved". CD

Close matches19
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Hues CorporationRockin Soul/Love Corporation (with bonus track) ... CD
RCA/FTG, 1974/1975. New Copy ... $15.99 16.98
A pair of classic 70s albums from Hues Corporation – back to back on a single CD! Rockin Soul is groovy crossover soul from The Hues Corporation – music that's perfectly tuned to come right out of the small speakers on an AM radio, yet still retain all the depth of the arrangements! The trio are hitting their best pre-disco stride here – as the album brings back the tune "Rock The Boat", which was a bit buried on their debut – and surrounds it with a number of equally grooving tunes arranged by Tom Sellers – numbers that don't yet have a straight disco approach, and which instead work through a mix of playful styles that bring the most out of the interplay between the vocals. In addition to "Rock The Boat", other titles include "I Got Caught Dancing Again", "No End In Sight", "Ease On Down The Road", "Love's There", "I'll Take A Melody", "Into My Music", and "Rockin Soul". Love Corporation is lesser-known 70s work from Hues Corporation – but still pretty darn sweet! As with other efforts for RCA, the overall sound is somewhat polished, but never too commercial – kind of a more mainstream take on harmony soul modes from a few years before – especially the mixed male/female approach at the end of the 60s. There's a bit of disco in the backings, but usually not too much – and most of the production is in that tight AM radio-friendly RCA mode that worked perfectly back in the day. Arrangements are by Michael Omartin, HB Barnum, and Larry Carlton – and titles include "He's My Home", "Gold Rush", "You Showed Me What Love Is", "Long Road", "One Good Night Together", "Soul Sailin", and "Sing To Your Song". CD also features one bonus track – "He's My Home (7" version)". CD

Close matches20
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Bobbi HumphreyGood Life (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Epic/FTG, 1979. New Copy ... $12.99 13.98
Excellent later work from Bobbie Humphrey – working here in a style that's different than her early albums for Blue Note – but still equally great! Bobbi's a bit more of a singer here, but the record still features loads of great work on flute as well – in these tight, full arrangements put together by Ralph MacDonald and William Eaton, both of whom really know their way around a groove! At some level, the shift is similar to that made by Patrice Rushen on her first few Elektra albums – a style that's more compressed than before, yet still every bit as soulful – and a great evolution for Bobbi Humphrey as an artist. The whole thing's great – and titles include "Say The Word", "Sweet N Low", "Living For The Music", "Love When I'm In Your Arms", "Year From Now", and "The Good Life". CD features bonus 7" mixes of "Love When I'm In Your Arms" and "Sweet N Low". CD
 
 
 



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