A soulful keyboard maestro – served up here on four 80s albums for Columbia Records! First up is Learning To Love – a set in which Rodney Franklin adds in just a bit more vocals to his music than before, but still holding onto all the best keyboard strengths of the past! Franklin was really one of the leading lights of the Columbia Records jazz scene of the time – an exceptionally strong artist, and very much his own spirit – yet sadly not as remembered these days as contemporaries like Lonnie Liston Smith or Herbie Hancock. Yet Rodney's got all the range of both of those artists – the same ability to mix jazz, funk, fusion, and soul – the last of which he does here wonderfully, with help from singers Jim Gilstrap, Howard Smith, and Darryl Phinnessee. Yet at the heart of all the tracks are Rodney's nice soulful keyboards – which have the same smooth feel as Bobby Lyle's from the same time – and the same ability to blend wonderfully with lyrics and other instrumentation. The record was produced by Stanley Clarke – and titles include the great "Enuff Is Enuff" – the theme from the early 80s blacksploitation flick One Down Two To Go – plus "Sonshine", "Learning To Love", "Don't Wanna Let You Go", "Sailing", and "That's The Way I Feel Bout Your Love". Marathon is full of great keyboard work from Rodney Franklin – an artist who was well-trained in the best 70s fusion modes, and really knew how to keep things real on an 80s groover like this! The set's got less acoustic touches than on previous Franklin albums, but the sound is still plenty soulful throughout – a nice contrast to some of the flatter keyboard work of some of his contemporaries of the period – and proof that even with newer technology, the right artist can still make things sound great! There's a few well-chosen mellower moments amidst the groovers – and the set features a bit of vocals, but is mostly instrumental overall. Titles include "Lumiere", "Searchin For", "Let's Talk", "Love Is The Answer", "Stay On The Groove", "Marathon", and "Reflection Of A Dream". Skydance is a great example of why we always reach for our Rodney Franklin records time and time again over the years – as there's few other players who could serve up a blend of soul and jazz this well! The album's got a great balance of electric and acoustic, that instantly-warm style that Franklin virtually invented on these classic Columbia recordings – with plenty of care to avoid falling into fusion cliches that were either too jamming, or too clunkily commercial. Rodney plays a host of keys himself – including Fender Rhodes and acoustic piano – and the set features some nice lead vocals from Darryl Coley and Phyllis St James – but also gives plenty of space for instrumental focus, with some tracks that are longer than usual for Franklin. Titles include the gentle stepper "One From The Heart", plus "Fiesta", "Destiny", "Song For You", "Skydance", and "Children". It Takes Two is a bit late in Rodney's classic years for Columbia, but still pretty darn nice – although certainly much more of a soul album than before! A fair number of the tracks here have standout lyrics – sung by Brenda Russell, Philip Ingram, Frank Musker, and even Franklin himself – but the keyboards still dominate pretty strongly, and include the mix of electric and acoustic modes that always made Rodney's albums nice. The keys show a definite influence of 80s technology, as does the production – which is shared by Franklin and Michel Colombier – and titles include "Motion", "Broken Wings", "It Takes Two", "My Wish", "The Eagle & The Condor", and "Look What's Showing Through". © 1996-2019, Dusty Groove, Inc.
We realize that there are many different interpretations of the standard grades used for pre-owned vinyl record albums & CD, so we thought we'd offer you the ones that we are working with, so you have an idea what we mean when we give the grade for a non-new item on our pages.
Below are stated conditions for a used vinyl records at Dusty Groove. Grading for the cover should be assumed to be near (within a "+" or "-") the grading for the vinyl. If there is significant divergence from the condition of the vinyl, or specific flaws, these will be noted in the comments section of the item. However, please be aware that since the emphasis of this site is towards the music listener, our main concern is with the vinyl of any used item we sell. Additionally, all of our records are graded visually; considering the volume of used vinyl we handle, it is impossible for us to listen to each record. If we spot any significant flaws, we make every attempt to listen through them and note how they play.
The following grading conditions apply to the vinyl component of an album or single:
This is what it says, that the record is still held fast in shrink-wrap. We tend to be pretty suspicious about these things, so if the shrink-wrap doesn't look original, or if the record seems to have undergone some damage over time, we'll probably take it out of the wrapper to ensure that it's in good shape — which is why we don't have more of these. In some cases the shrink-wrap may be torn in spots, but if it's not possible the record has been taken out and played, the record will still qualify as "Sealed".
Dusty Groove does not use the grades of Near Mint (or Mint, for that matter) because in our experience, we find that no records ever qualify for such a high grade. Even sealed records tend to have one or two slight faults, enough to usually qualify them for a grade of NM- or lower. We've often found that records which are clearly unplayed will have a slight amount of surface noise, especially in quieter recordings.
This is a grade we rarely use, as we try not to sell records in very bad condition, though in some rare cases we will list a record in such bad shape that it does not conform to the standards above. A "Fair" record will have enough marks or significant flaws that it does not even qualify as "Good", but is a copy you might consider for playing, if you're willing to put up with noise and/or flaws. An example might be a recording with surface noise so heavy that it is equal to the volume of the music. For records listed as "Fair", we will describe the extent of the condition in the comments.
Like "Fair", we rarely list records in this condition, as they represent the extreme low end of spectrum. These records typically have multiple serious problems, and we offer them as "relics" or "objects" only — for those who want to at least have a copy of a record, even if it is not really worthy of play, perhaps for the cover alone. For these records, we will describe the extent of the condition in the comments.
If something is noteworthy, we try to note it in the comments — especially if it is an oddity that is the only wrong thing about the record. This might include, but isn't limited to, warped records, tracks that skip, cover damage or wear as noted above, or strictly cosmetic flaws.
We have only one grade for non-new CDs at Dusty Groove — "Used CD". This grade is somewhat all-encompassing, but we choose it because we try to offer Used CDs in the best shape possible.
When you purchase a Used CD you can expect the disc to be free of all but the lightest of surface marks, the case to be clean (we often change the cases ourselves), and the booklet to be in good shape. Used CDs may show some signs of use but if there are significant details or defects we will list them underneath the item — just like we do with LPs — so look there for notes on cutout marks, stickers, promo stamps or other details.
All of our Used CDs are guaranteed to play without skipping or flaws. If you purchase a Used CD from Dusty Groove, you have 1 week to play it to determine that it plays correctly — and if it does not, then you may return it for a full refund.