When the opening chords of Georgy Porgy wash over you in a tingle of anticipation, and then the voice of Cheryl Lynn arrives, you’re right back where you started from. Its moments like these that transcend time. This double CD compilation of the singers Columbia Records releases’ spans the years between 1978 to 1985, covering the best of six albums worth of R&B inspired gems. The title track, which she co-wrote, hits next and if you’ve been on a dancefloor anywhere in the world, or switched on the TV then at some point you will know this. But it’s not just the up-tempo numbers that gather harmonic pace as Cheryl Lynn’s voice shines on any occasion, fast or slow and low. It’s also surprising how many flashes of music are also seared into our collective consciousness such as the unforgeable bars of You Saved My Day. Keep It Hot and the life-affirming qualities of Shake It Up Tonight still remain personal favourites highlighting a time when music spoke an almost different language to what occupies dancefloors in modern days. By the second disc sounds softened with ballads featuring more heavily, including a duet with Luther Vandross on If This World Were Mine. Although standout tracks like the Jimmy “Jam” Harris and Terry Lewis produced Encore helped define not only the sound of American dance music but also that of the UK in 1984.
It is an easy thing to do. To get lost in the warm glow of the late, great Phyllis Hyman’s beautiful vocals. This new collection concentrates on her Buddah Records and Arista Records output plus charted tracks released between 1976-1985 and was compiled by the label founder David Nathan. The accompanying sleeve notes spell out the story in detail and its fair to say that her career spanned the creative Arts fully and that is reflected in the rousing down-tempo numbers right through to the Dance tracks, which have no doubt drawn many of us into her orbit. Chiefly, of course, You Know How To Love me but also the likes of Tonight You And Me feel justifiably compelling. This two CD set gives you opportunity to explore the rollercoaster of emotions that was Phyllis Hyman and more.
The third in the series of compilations from Lost My Dog’s catalogue of Deep House, and other imaginings, sees one of the label heads Pete Dafeet mix together a smooth blend of moods into one altogether very satisfying experience. As with previous editions this features old and new music from the imprint, although this time is the preserve of Pete’s own productions, along with the added twist of some hot remixes such as Giom’s excellent take on Beneath The Fold and Moodymanc’s likewise Dub of Stutter. Got to say my favourite track has to be Hit Em Up, which appears both as the uplifting intensity of the Original version along with the stab nirvana of Pezzner’s remix. Generously an unmixed selection is also available so you can unpick all those favourites for yourselves.
If you’re looking for a viable alternative to the current vogue of 90’s inspired House then try Danny Berman’s innovative interpretation of the Post-Punk/ No-Wave sound. It’s got all the elements right down to a T from the enviable, deadpan cool vocal of City Hayes to the chopped-funk guitar by Crazy P’s Chris Todd, which you will find draws you into the after-dark world of late seventies/ early eighties New York. Trans-Media-Lab artist Jacob Korn provides a stunning remix with a more contemporary electronic twist featuring lush pads and probing bass. Freestyle Lover then sees Berman’s own vocal delivery cut across ‘Fripp’ guitar and an assortment of caustic percussion. But, perhaps looking at the cover alone will reveal all you need to know about this, and more!
Mario Basanov’s debut album for Needwant is little short of stunning. Not only does it sound perfectly polished but the breadth of styles it indulges in is equally as impressive. From down-tempo ambience to dancefloor madness just about everything you can imagine is touched upon here, including at times even Pop sensibilities. From invigorating instrumentals like Skywalker to classy songs such as the deliciously soulful Something About featuring Edwin Williamson it’s all about the quality. The title, Journey is certainly an apt one running to some sixteen tracks in all. And when experiencing the cosmic-funk of music like Damn Girl you can only really refer to this as highly accomplished.
A Brazilian Love Affair
George Duke’s Brazilian celebration cumulates in the title track of this reissue album by redefining the possibilities of Jazz/ Funk at that time (in 1979). Recorded with a handful of Brazilian musicians you can hear their influence along with the sounds of sun and the sea throughout. You’re also left in little doubt as to the dexterity of the players involved, although at times it can feel a touch muso, however lighter relief is always on hand via the hot Latin melodies experienced on the likes of Cravo E Canela. Generally regarded as a classic in its field it is probably fair to say that they don’t actually make them like this anymore.