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Close matches: 15
Close matches1
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Dee Dee BridgewaterDee Dee Bridgewater (1976)/Just Family/Bad For Me/Dee Dee Bridgewater (1980) ... CD
Robinsongs (UK), Late 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $12.99
Four great albums from Dee Dee Bridgewatwer – a hell of a jazz singer, and also a great soul talent too! First up is a self-titled set from 1976 – Dee Dee Bridgewater's first album as a soul singer – recorded a few years after she first broke on the scene as a righteous jazz vocalist on hip early 70s classics! The sound here is different than the material Bridgewater started with, but still plenty great from a soul perspective – tightly-crafted, sophisticated work that features both uptempo and mellow cuts – in a mode that's quite similar to the Columbia work of Marlena Shaw – another former jazz vocalist who made a 70s shift to soul. Production is by Gene Page, Jerry Wexler, and Stephen Scheaffer – and the set was recorded in a variety of different setting that spin out over the course of the tracks. We're most partial to the mellow cuts – which trip along with some great spacey edges – and titles include a great version of "He's Gone", plus "My Prayer", "You Saved Me", "Goin Through The Motions", "It Ain't Easy", and "Every Man Wants Another Man's Woman". Just Family is a sweet funky fusion album that Dee Dee recorded for Elektra in the late 70s. The set was produced by Stanley Clarke, and has a soul/fusion sound that's not that different than his own work of the time, and which works very well with Dee Dee's sweet vocal approach. Players include Bobby Lyle, Ronnie Foster, George Duke, and other strong 70s fusion players – and overall, the record's probably Dee Dee's best non straight jazz album of the 70s. Tracks include "Sweet Rain", "Open Up Your Eyes", "Just Family", "Melody Maker", and "Children Are The Spirit (Of The World)". Bad For Me is one of Dee Dee Bridgewater's standout sets as a soul singer in the 70s – a mode that's quite different than the sound of Bridgewater you may know from her mostly-jazz career – but one that gets plenty of sharp help from the great George Duke! Duke produced the set – and really knows how to balance Dee Dee's jazz roots with some of the modern soul impulses of the set – letting her really soar on some mellower moments, while hewing to the groove on the more upbeat cuts – which may well be some of the strongest on the album. Throughout it all, Bridgewater is a model of care and class – very different than most mainstream R&B singers of the time – and titles include "Streetsinger", "For the Girls", "Love Won't Let Me Go", "Back Of Your Mind", and "Is This What The Feeling Gets". Last up is the second self-titled Dee Dee Bridgewater album, from 1980 – recorded during a brief break from jazz at the end of the 70s, and done with some sweetly grooving from Thom Bell! The sound here's a bit like that of some of the later Philly International work from the same stretch – a maturing style that still has a bit of the earlier groove in place, yet which also takes on a more sophisticated approach, especially on the mellower cuts and ballads. In a way, the format's a bit like that used for Jean Carn or Phyllis Hyman at the time – and like those singers, Dee Dee seems to work best here when she's got a nice gentle groove to bring out the jazzier inflections in her voice! Titles include "When You're In Love", "That's The Way Love Should Feel", "Give In To Love", "Lonely Disco Dancer", "One In A Million Guy", and "Jody (Whoever You Are)". CD

Close matches2
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Kay-GeesKeep On Bumpin & Masterplan/Find A Friend/Kilowatt (bonus tracks) ... CD
De-Lite/Robinsongs (UK), Mid 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $12.99
Three full funky albums – and bonus tracks too! First up is Keep On Bumpin & Masterplan – the Kay-Gees' funkiest record ever – a set that's harder and sharper than anything else they'd ever record in years to come! Grabbing this one up is like finding a lost Kool & The Gang album from the early years – which is no surprise, since Ronald Bell of the group produced, and wrote a lot of the songs with the group – maybe acting as their mentor, and definitely giving the young group a great showcase for their boundless energy, and tight skills in the groove department! The band are incredibly tight – with lots of hard drums, choppy guitar, and the rolling party feel that made Kool & The Gang so great during their best years – captured here with a similarly raw production style. There's some great horns that blast in and out, sounding very off-beat at the best moments – like the classic "Who's the Man With the Master Plan", sampled by YZ many years ago – or other funky cuts like "Ain't No Time", "Get Down", and "You've Got to Keep on Bumpin". On Find A Friend, the Kay-Gee's are getting a little disco, but they also manage to lay down some nice funky tracks – in the best Kool & The Gang tradition of their early work! Ronald Bell of Kool & Gang is still working with the group – and he wrote a lot of material and also performs on the LP – which might be part of the album's strength – although the group have clearly got a very strong legacy on their own! The record shows signs of the direction that Kool & The Gang were taking at the time, with a move towards electric keyboards instead of raw funky guitars – but like Kool's work from the period, the use of these keyboards is nicely restrained, and adds some good jazzy elements to the sound, to create a more sophisticated style of funk. Cuts include "Waiting At The Bus Stop", "Mr. Nothin", "STP", "Be Real", "Keep On Saying", "Acknowledgement", and a number of versions of "Find A Friend". On Kilowatt, The Kay-Gees are burning bright – in that razor-sharp approach to funk that made the group one of the best of their generation – able to strongly step on the dancefloor, but without losing any of the rawness of their funky 45 years! The balance is a bit like Fatback at their best – and that group is maybe one of the few we'd match next to the Kay-Gees at this point – and although the basslines are up a bit more than before, they never hit any sort of too-cliched or overdone modes, as in some of the other big funk groups of the period. Guitars riff mightily, lyrics are plenty catchy, and the rest of the instrumentation is right on the money – on cuts that include their "Kay-Gee's Theme Song", plus "Fat Daddy", "Celestial Vibrations", "Space Disco", and "Kilowatt/Invasion". CD features bonus tracks – "Hustle Wit Every Muscle", "Cheek To Cheek (12" mix)", "Kilowatt (12" mix)", and "Kilowatt (12" ext)". CD

Close matches3
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
RogerMany Facets Of Roger/Saga Continues/Unlimited (plus bonus tracks) ... CD
Warner/Robinsongs (UK), Mid 80s. New Copy 2CD ... $12.99
A trio of albums from Roger – with bonus tracks too! On the first album, there's Many Facets Of Roger – and they're all pretty darn funky! From this vantage point, all we can think of is that Roger Troutman must have had some sort of crystal ball to see into the hip hop sampling future – either that, or he was busy cooking up west coast gangster funk drones in some secret So Cal laboratory! Whatever the case, though, the record's a classic in the Troutman/Zapp catalog – and features a sparkling west coast take on electro – offered up with lots of popping basslines, snapping electric kickdrums, and a truckfull of vocoder! There's also some pretty nice guitar in the mix – especially on the good jazzy groover "Chunk Of Sugar", which sounds like it's from a completely different record. Other tracks include "Maxx Axe", "Do It Roger", "So Ruff, So Tuff", and "Blue". The Saga Continues finds Roger still rocking his trademark effects laden vocals and vamping guitar work into the middle of the decade – with even tighter syncopated percussion, funky keys, and sharp synth bursts – sailing in a killer groove throughout! Roger produced the record along with Larry Troutman – and they bring in Maceo Parker for a horn solo and Ohio Player Billy Beck for keyboards as well! Tracks include a vocoder funk reading of Wilson Pickett's "Midnight Hour", plus "In The Mix", "Play Your Guitar Brother Roger", "The Break Song", "I Keep Trying", "Bucket Of Blood", "T C Song", and "Girl Cut It Out". Unlimited has Roger going for a sound that's maybe even more electro than some of his earlier solo work, at a level that really seems to be pushing the Zapp sound further for the 80s! The style is funky, but touched with lots of elements that have wended their way from indie hip hop up to mainstream soul – all at a level that later acts might fuse together with a bit more warmth, but which still has the starker feel of electro soul in Troutman's hands. Titles include "Thrill Seekers", "I Want To Be You Man", "I Really Want to Be You Man", "Night & Day", and "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag". Bonus tracks include "Please Come Home For Christmas", "Bedisguitarist-A-Rown", and 7" mixes of "Heard It Through The Grapevine (part 1)", "Do It Roger", "In The Mix", "I Want To Be Your Man", and "Midnight Hour (part 1)". CD

Close matches4
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ TwennynineJust Like Dreamin' ... CD
Atlantic/Robinsongs (UK), 1981. Used ... Just Sold Out!
Sublime jazzy soul from Twennynine – a combo that's headed by drummer Lenny White, but which is a really solid group affair overall! Twennynine have a perfect sense of poise throughout – that great mix of jazzy elements and more straightforward soul that characterized some of the best groups of the early 80s – served up with a bit of polish, but still plenty of nice sharp edges on the grooves. Keyboards slide along nicely with the basslines and drums – and although lead vocals are by Barry Johnson, most of the group members manage to sing a bit throughout the set – fleshing out the grooves wonderfully with some really warm chorus parts. Titles include "Movin On", "Rhythm", "Twennynine (The Rap)", "Just Like Dreamin", "Don't Look Back", "Need You", "Find A Love", and "All I Want". CD

Close matches5
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Bernard WrightNard/Funky Beat ... CD
Arista/GRP/Robinsongs (UK), 1981/1983. New Copy ... $12.99
Early 80s greatness from Bernard Wright – the benchmark Nard from '81 and his Funky Beat from '83 – in a single set! Nard is a masterpiece of smooth jazzy funk – and super-hip session headed up by the young keyboardist! Wright's working here with an insider crowd of jazz funk players that includes Bobby Broom, Dave Grusin, Marcus Miller, and Don Blackman, whose funky style is very similar to Wright's. The record sort of picks up the groove where some of the Fantasy Records sessions of the 70s left off – mixing together jazz and soul into a captivating blend that's made even better by Dave Grusin's tight production. Includes Don Blackman's sample classic "Haboglabotribin", a nice version of Weldon Irvine's "Music Is The Key", and the cuts"Just Chillin' Out", "Master Rocker", and "Bread Sandwiches". Funky Beat is his second album – an 80s groove electro classic that's quite different than his first LP! It takes Bernard firmly into a b-boy jazz mode – working keyboards, bass, and drum programs into a groove that's farther reaching and more soulful than anything that Herbie Hancock was doing at the time. And as with his first album, Bernard's got plenty of great help on this one – as the record features work by Weldon Irvine, Lenny White, Dave Grusin, and others. The album includes some great Weldon Irvine compositions – like a remake of "Mr Clean", and the sweet vocal numbers "Won't You Let Me Love You" and "Keep On Doing That Right Thing", both of them warm wonderful tunes that stand with the best work on the album! Also includes a straight jazz version of "Joy Spring", and the breakin' tracks "Funky Beat", "Get Your Lover Back", "Video Generation", and "Move Your Body". CD

Close matches6
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Bar-KaysAs One/Nightcruising/Propositions/Dangerous ... CD
Mercury/Robinsongs (UK), Early 80s. New Copy 2CD ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A quadruple pack of albums from The Bar-Kays – four records on two CDs! First up is As One, a record that definitely has the Bar-Kays definitely grooving as one – with amazing choppy guitar, bumping basslines, and brassy horns – all wrapped up with some wonderfully warm production! The group have come a long way from their fuzzier funk roots by this time, but they're still sounding great – thanks to a matured outlook on their music, one that has them fitting nicely alongside some of their Mercury ensemble funk contemporaries – but in ways that still make them stand out from the pack! Titles include "Body Fever", "As One", "Say It Through Love", "Open Your Heart", "Deliver Us", and "Take The Time To Love Somebody". Nightcruising is a tight little set! There's a key ear for a bassline and beat that keeps The Bar-Kays standing stronger than most of their contemporaries – a sense of rhythm schooled in years of indie funk that comes through even on the mellower cuts here – which themselves show an even better side of the group in this generation, one that comes across great here on a few slower numbers that have a sweetly stepping groove. Titles include "Nightcruising", "Freaky Behavior", "Feels Like I'm Falling In Love", "Touch Tone", "Hit & Run", "Unforgettable Dream", "Traffic Jammer", and "Backseat Driver". Propositions is a set that's light years away from the sound of their Memphis roots, but still plenty darn funky overall! The album's got a tight bass-heavy approach to the music – the well-forged ensemble sound that graced the later years of the Bar-Kays' career, with nary a note out of place, and a sweet blend of keyboards over the bass, giving the tunes a strong electric feel – gliding wonderfully over romping rhythms on the upbeat tracks, and stepping sweetly on the album's few mellow gems. Titles include "Tripping Out", "Propositions", "Anticipation", "Do It (Let Me See You Shake)", "She Talks To Me With Her Body", and "You Made A Change In My Life". Dangerous has a tighter sound than before for The Bar-Kays – that lean approach to funky grooves that some of their contemporaries were hitting as the 80s moved on – yet still served up here by the full ensemble with a relatively fresh feel overall. Amidst the beats and keyboards, there's still lots of nice funky inflections on bass and guitar – often handled in a skittish mode that energizes things nicely, especially alongside the more electro-styled vocals. The vibe of the record is definitely in keeping with the cover – but in the best way possible – and titles include "Dangerous", "Dirty Dancer", "Make Believe Lover", "Freakshow On The Dance Floor", and "Sexomatic". CD

Close matches7
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Bar-KaysDefinitive Collection (3CD set) ... CD
Robinsongs (UK), Late 60s/1970s/1980s. New Copy 3CD ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
The only career-spanning collection we've ever seen on The Bar-Kays – and a set that does a mighty nice job of hitting all the right bases! The group first rose to fame as a funk combo on Stax in the late 60s – then shifted a bit after part of the group was killed in the same plane crash that took the life of Otis Redding – a tragedy that soon saw the group rising from the ashes, and sounding even better than before! Their sound was a huge part of the Stax Records funk sound of the early 70s – and the group took that groove over to Mercury once the decade got going – where they found a very welcome home, and the perfect environment to perfect their ultra-sharp talents. Unlike some groups who started out funky, then went smooth and commercial, The Bar-Kays never lost the qualities that made them great – and even when recording for a bigger label, with a bigger budget, they continued to turn out rock-solid rhythms laced with super-tight instrumentation – even at times when some groups were letting more machines do all the work for them. This 3CD set follows The Bar-Kays on that long musical journey, complete with a big booklet of notes that tell their full story – and the package features 46 tracks in all – including "Shine", "Up In Here", "I'll Dance", "She Talks To Me With Her Body", "Soul Finger", "Bar-Kays Boogaloo", "Sang & Dance", "Son Of Shaft", "Spellbound", "Cozy", "Freaky Behavior", "Traffic Jammer", "Nightcruising", "Animal", "Stuck By You", "Banging On The Walls", "Don't Stop Dancing To The Music", "Six O'Clock News Report", "Money Talks", "Holy Ghost", "Shake Your Rump To The Funk", "Cozy", "Whitehouseorgy", "Shut The Funk Up", and "Today Is The Day". CD

Close matches8
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ LakesideShot Of Love/Rough Riders/Fantastic Voyage (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Solar/Robinsongs (UK), Late 70s. New Copy 2 CDs ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A trio of classic funky albums from Lakeside – with bonus tracks too! First up is Shot Of Love – Lakeside's first album for Solar – and the beginning of a very fruitful relationship for the band and the label! The record's a great one – cut long before the Solar funk sound had gotten cliched – and it includes a key early hit in the Solar sound, the band's "It's All The Way Live", a seven minute funky workout in the tight LA ensemble funk mode. Other tracks include "Given In To Love", "Time", "Visions Of My Mind", and "Shot Of Love". Rough Riders is a sweet second effort from Lakeside – Ohio funk given a sweet LA glow, thanks to the Solar Records power duo of Leon Sylvers and Dick Griffey! The Midwest/Cali bridge is perfect here – as there's lots of raw roots given a tight focus on the record – that move that not only made groups like Lakeside a key force in the evolution of funky soul at the end of the 70s, but also helped pave the way for a decade of music to come – and lots of later influence on hip hop as well! Titles include the super-funky "If You Like Our Music" – plus "Pull My Strings", "I Can't Get You Out Of My Head", "From 9:00 Until", "I'll Never Leave You", and "All In My Mind". Fantastic Voyage is a crowning achievement from Lakeside – one of the key albums to link Ohio funk roots with a smoother LA groove – all served up in a way that had limitless influence for years to come! Bass is definitely at the head of these arrangements, but there's plenty of great guitar too – riffing and scratching in a way that percolates the tunes wonderfully – keeping plenty of funk in the mix without falling into the too-uptight traps that sometimes mired other groups. But almost even better are the vocals – which are tight and well-placed – never an afterthought, but always a key part of the groove, thanks to plenty of great hooks that really send the tunes home! Titles include "Eveready Man", "Say Yes", "Strung Out", "Fantastic Voyage", "I Need You", and "Your Love Is On The One". CD package features bonus 7" mixes of "It's All The Way Live", "Pull My Strings", "From 9:00 Until", "Fantastic Voyage", and "Your Love Is On The One". CD

Close matches9
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ LTDSomething To Love/Togetherness/Devotion/Shine On ... CD
A&M/Robinsongs (UK), Late 70s. New Copy 2 CDs ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
4 classic records from LTD on 2CDs! Something To Love is a great little groover with arrangements by Philly Soul maestro Bobby Martin – who mixes together funk, club grooves, and smooth soul. Jeffrey Osborne's vocals really shine on this one, too! Osborne's emerging strongly in the mellow soul mode on Togetherness, too – especially on the album's two great ballad cuts, "Concentrate On You" and "We Both Deserve Each Other". Devotion is one of LTD's biggest from the 70s – a sweet mix of mellow soul and boogie. Shine On features more solid boogie sounds – with the group still grooving beautifully in their best late 70s mode at the cusp of the next decade! 37 tracks on a 2CD set that compiles their last few years of the 70s! "Back In Love Again", "Stay With Me", "We Party Hearty", "Material Things", "Age Of The Showdown", "Stranger", "Share My Love", "Say That You'll Be Mine", "One On One", and "Dance N Sing N", "You Gave Me Love", "Lovers Everywhere", "Holding On", "Jam", "Don't Stop Loving Me Now", and "Let's All Live & Give Together", "Don'tcha Know", "Shine On", "Where Did We Go Wrong", "Getaway", "Lady Love" and more. CD

Close matches10
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Mass ProductionWelcome To Our World Of Merry Music – The Definitive Collection (3CD set) ... CD
Cotillion/Robinsongs (UK), Late 70s/Early 80s. New Copy 3 CDs ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A fantastic collection of grooves from Mass Production – one of the best of the large funk ensembles to hit the mainstream at the end of the 70s – even though they didn't always get the success they deserved! That doesn't stop these guys from giving their all, though – super-sharp, super-tight instrumentation that comes down on the groove right from the get-go – and which moves with a fast funk energy that's a nice contrast to some of the stiffer, clunkier modes that were floating around at the time! These guys inherit the best impulses of Earth Wind & Fire and Kool & The Gang – and find a way to make their large lineup sound nice and lean, never too overcooked – with shifting vocals that really help keep things interesting throughout. The 3CD package features 45 tracks from their seven year stretch recording for Atlantic/Cotillion Records – and titles include "Sky High", "Groove Me", "Our Thought", "Bopp", "Turn Up The Music", "Diamond Chips", "Inner City", "Sun Dancer", "Victory 83", "Magic", "I Like To Dance", "Welcome To Our World", "Slow Bump", "Time Bomb", "Keep My Heart Together", "Cosmic Lust", "I Believe In Music", "Fun In The Sun", "Just Wanna Make A Dream Come True", "Firecracker", and "Eknuf (inst)". CD

Close matches11
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ MFSBMFSB – The Definitive Collection ... CD
Philadelphia International/Robinsongs (UK), Mid 70s. New Copy 2 CDs ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
Massive work from this legendary group – a studio ensemble who started out backing some of the best soul singers on the Philly scene of the 70s – but who soon got the chance to shine in the spotlight on their own! The musicians are all the cream of the crop of the city's scene – many with legacies that go back to the 60s, with work in a variety of formats – coming together here in a lineup that's tight, but never slick – sharp, but always able to open up and groove! The music here begins with instrumental tracks from the pre-disco years – music that's a huge change from the rough style of 60s soul instrumentals – and which adds in more sophisticated charts, a bit of orchestrations, and other elements – while still letting all the best soulful elements come through in the mix. The 2CD package is overflowing with gems – and titles include "Zack's Fanfare", "Sexy", "Philadelphia Freedom", "KJEE", "Brothers & Sisters", "TSOP", "Love Is The Message", "Dance With Me Tonight (12" version)", "Let's Clean UP The Ghetto", "South Philly", "Back Stabbers", "The Zip", "Lay In Low", "My Mood", "Get Down With The Philly Sound", "Family Affair", "Manhattan Skyline", "Summertime", "Let's Party Down", "Mysteries Of The World", "MFSB", "Sunnin & Funnin", "Picnic In The Park", "Freddie's Dead", "Old San Juan", "Fortune Teller", "We Got The Time", and "Tell Me Why". CD

Close matches12
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ WhispersWhisper In Your Ear/Whispers/Imagination (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Solar/Robinsongs (UK), 1979/1980. New Copy 2CD ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A trio of classic albums from The Whispers – with bonus tracks too! On the first set, the mighty group does way more here than just Whisper in your ear – as they're completely on top of their game, ending the 70s with a wickedly sharp sound that would help them stand strong for years to come! The group started in fragile harmony soul modes, grew with confidence in the 70s, hit a bit of a dancefloor mode – and here step off with this mature style that's totally wonderful – the best of all worlds together as one – shaped by arrangements from Tom Tom 84, Gene Page, and Keni Burke! Titles include "Whisper In Your Ear", "Homemade Lovin'", "If I Don't Get Your Love", "Love At Its Best", "Can't Do Without Love", and "Pretty Lady". The 1979 Whispers album was one of a few to bear the group's name as its title – and it's also one of our favorite albums by The Whispers – a later gem with some really great songs, and a sound that shows the group strongly moving into hit territory! In some way, the album's almost a return to the mellow harmony soul of the group's roots – slowing down the pace from the disco years to craft some extremely great ballads and midtempo numbers. There's still a bunch of great club tracks too – like the classic "And The Beat Goes On" – but in a way, our favorite tracks are the mellower ones, like "Lady", "I Love You", and the sublime, "A Song For Donny", a tribute to the late Donny Hathaway, written around the music of his classic "This Christmas". On Imagination, the group takes off from the Philly groove style of their late 70s work, moving into a style that picks up all the best touches of the early 80s LA sound – electro keyboards, but not too much; quiet storm production, but not so much so that the album's smothered in it; and a professional approach to harmonies and songwriting that showed that the group was still an unstoppable force in soul music! Includes "Imagination", "It's A Love Thing", "Say You", "I Can Make It Better" and "Up On Soul Train". Bonus tracks include an instrumental of "Song For Donny" – plus 7" mixes of "Can't Do Without Love", "Can You Do The Boogie", "And The Beat Goes On", "It's A Love Thing", and "I Can Make It Better". CD

Close matches13
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Charles EarlandComin To You Live/Earland's Jam/Street Themes (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Columbia/Robinsongs (UK), Early 80s. New Copy 2CD ... Out Of Stock
A trio of great albums from organist Charles Earland – presented here with great bonus tracks too! First up is Comin To You Live – one of Charles Earland's sweet albums from his years at Columbia Records – done in a mode that's much more R&B than his earliest work, but in a style that's still A-OK with us! The groove here is greatly helped out by arrangements from Tom Washington, Weldon Irvine, and Marcus Miller – all great talents for mixing soul into Earland's jazzier keyboards – yet in a way that still keeps all of the best elements intact! Many of the tracks feature vocals, but in a gently soulful way that glides in nicely alongside the keys – and speaking of keys, Charles plays Fender Rhodes and Arp here in addition to his usual organ. Titles include "Coming To You Live", "Spend The Night With Me", "Take Me To Heaven", "Cornbread", "Good Question", "Zee Funkin Space", and "I Will Never Tell". Earland's Jam is filled with stellar grooves from Charles Earland – a great mix of jazz, soul, and funk – put together in a way that's quite different from his previous records on Prestige or Mercury Records! The sound here is tight 80s soul – put together by Tom Tom Washington, who gives the whole thing a sophisticated Chicago vibe – and one that matches Charles' sweet keyboard solos with wickedly sharp rhythms, and some occasional vocal bits too. Singers include Larry Blackmon, TC Campell, and Charles himself – but there's still a focus that seems to be more on the instrumentation overall – served up with some mighty nice organ lines from Earland. Titles include "The Only One", "Marcia's Waltz", "You Belong To Me", "Never Knew Love Like This Before", "Guilty", "Laser Lips", "Earland's Jam", and "Animal". Earland's Street Themes is a great little groover from keyboardist Charles Earland – and an album that definitely lives up to its title! There's plenty of street sounds going on here – lots of modern R&B modes that echo the changing styles of early 80s soul music, especially on the east coast! And as part of that, there's a good deal of vocals on the record, alongside Charles' keyboards – work by singers who include Larry Hancock, Bruce Gray, and Sheryl Kendrick – each of whom adds plenty to the record, working over jazzy grooves nicely scored by Earland. Titles include "Be My Lady", "Take Me Away", "Feels So Good To Me", "Burning Devotion", "Tell Me What It Is", and "Go All The Way". Bonus tracks include "Phire", "Intergalactic Love Song", "We All Live In The Jungle", "Coming To You Live (7" mix)", and "Let The Music Play (12" mix)". CD

Close matches14
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Rodney FranklinIn The Center/You'll Never Know/Rodney Franklin/Endless Flight (bonus track) ... CD
Columbia/Robinsongs (UK), Late 70s/Early 80s. New Copy 2CD ... Out Of Stock
Four soulful fusion classics from keyboardist Rodney Franklin – all together in a single set! First up is In The Center – wonderful keyboard work from the amazing Rodney Franklin – a player who sounds equally great on acoustic and electric piano! This album does a wonderful job of mixing them both – showing Rodney's more sensitive side on a few acoustic numbers, but then really taking off in a much more groove-based mode for the electric ones – which have a soaring, spacious style that's in that best blend of fusion and soul that was going down at Columbia in the late 70s – but with some spacier Bob James touches too! Most of the cuts were arranged by Byron Olsen, who's got an equally sensitive ear as Franklin – and although there's a bit of vocals on the record, most of the focus is on instrumental grooves – especially Rodney's work on the keys. Titles include the classics "I Like The Music Make It Hot", "Spanish Flight", and "On The Path" – plus "Yours", "Life Moves On", and the extended "Spring Suite". You'll Never Know is fully-formed genius from the amazing Rodney Franklin – one of the best keyboard stars to emerge from the late 70s scene! Franklin's got a great talent for balancing influences from jazz and soul in ways that are similar to contemporaries George Duke and Bobby Lyle – and like both of those players, he still stands strong in jazz, but makes some key nods to soul music on this set – adding in a bit of vocals where needed, and moving into some R&B-drenched fusion lines that all sound pretty darn hip! As on previous records, Rodney plays both acoustic and electric keys – blending them wonderfully for a very deep sound – and the group behind him features some especially nice work on reeds, which bring sharper edges to some of the best tracks on the set. There's a wonderfully deep feel to the whole thing – way more than you'd expect for a major label release at the time – and titles include "Felix Leo", "The Watcher", "The Groove", "Journey", "You'll Never Know", "Return", and "Parkay Man". Next is the self-titled Rodney Franklin – tremendous work from Rodney Franklin – one of our favorite soulful fusion players from the end of the 70s! The album's a keyboard delight through and through – and Rodney plays both acoustic and electric piano, often on the same track – which creates this nicely expanded sound that works well with the album's tight arrangements! There's a fair bit of soul in the mix too – some rhythms that make a few numbers great groovers, courtesy of Tom Tom arrangements – and some other full moments handled by Patrick Williams. Titles include a wonderful version of "Windy City" – the cut you might know from a classic Carl Davis recording – plus "On The Path", "I Like The Music Make It Hot", "Life Moves On", "Creation", and "In The Center". Endless Flight is a brilliant mix of jazz, soul, and fusion – smoothed together nicely, but never in a way that's slick or commercial! Franklin's got a keen ear that lets him sit on both sides of the fence wonderfully – in a way that so many other players tried in later years, but never managed to do without losing their groove or selling out too much. Part of the strength of the album is the way that it mixes together acoustic and electric keys from track to track – deepening the spirit of the album through a good sense of pacing and mood, and also offsetting vocal tracks with some key instrumental numbers. Tom Washington produced and heavily helped in the arrangements – and titles include "Vibrations", "Benetta", "Cancion Para Mi Mama", "Dance Tonight", "Endless Flight", "Return To The Source", "Mensaje De Dios", and a surprisingly great funky take on "Hill Street Blues". Includes one bonus track – "The Groove (single version)". CD

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✨✧ Rodney FranklinLearning To Love/Marathon/Skydance/It Takes Two ... CD
Columbia/Robinsongs (UK), Mid 80s. New Copy 2CD ... Out Of Stock
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". CD
 
 
 



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