The result was an album that was played almost in its entirety by U.S.
R&B stations. The first single,
‘Never Had A Love Like This Before’ was
a Top 5 R&B hit in advance of the release of MADAM BUTTERFLY. Highlights
included ‘Let Me Heal The Bruises,’ ‘Straight From The Heart’ and the original
version of ‘I’m Back For More’ (later recorded by Al Johnson).
Love Uprising - Tavares
From the start of their pacting with Capitol Records in 1974, the brothers
Tavares were considered one of the flagship acts as the very first signing by
black music department head Larkin Arnold.
Over the ensuring years, the New Bedford, Massachusetts family group had
nine Top 10 R&B hits and seven Top 20 R&B best-selling albums.
Released at the end of 1980, LOVE UPRISING was the group’s ninth album
for Capitol and was produced by Benjamin Wright (former musical director for
Gladys Knight & The Pips and Barry White among others and arranger for
Michael Jackson’s "Off The Wall” LP).
Wright had worked with Tavares on their previous album, "Supercharged,”
contributing and producing three songs.
Available for the first time ever on CD (in an expanded edition with the
single version of the title track, a Top 20 R&B hit, penned by the team of
Rene Moore & Angela Winbush), LOVE UPRISING featured top musicians
including James Jamerson, Paul Jackson Jr. and Paulinho DaCosta and the Phenix
Horns (formerly with Earth, Wind & Fire).
Who is This Bitch Anyway? - Marlena Shaw
By the early ‘70s, Marlena Shaw had already established herself as a
potent live performer and recording artist, thanks to such tunes as ‘Woman Of
The Ghetto’ and ‘California Soul.’
In 1973, the upstate New York-born vocalist became the first female
singer signed to the prestigious Blue Note label and her fourth album for the
company, 1975’s WHO IS THIS BITCH, ANYWAY? reached No. 8 on Billboard’s Jazz
charts and No. 47 on the R&B listings.
WHO IS THIS BITCH, ANYWAY? was produced by Bernard Ighner (the writer of
the classic ‘Everything Must Change’) who assembled top musicians such as
drummer Harvey Mason, bassist Chuck Rainey and guitarists Larry Carlton and
David T. Walker for the sessions.
Wanna Make Love / Sun-Power - Sun
Originally formed in Dayton, Ohio, the self-contained group Sun became
prime purveyors of ‘funk and soul alongside other Ohio funkateers such as
Bootsy Collins, Dazz Band, Lakeside, Zapp, Slave and of course, the Ohio
Players in the ‘70s and early ‘80s.
Founding member Byron Byrd formed a number of different bands before a
1974 iteration (Overnight Low) became Sun after beginning to work with producer
Beau Ray Fleming who’d seen the group open for Mandrill. Fleming in turn introduced the newly-named
Sun to Capitol executive Larkin Arnold and in 1976, the group cut its
funk-filled debut for the label.
Blam!! - Brothers Johnson
As the Brothers Johnson, L.A. natives George (guitar) and Louis (bass)
were among the most renowned funk’n’soul teams of the mid-‘70s and early ‘80s,
thanks to a series of best-selling albums and U.S. hit singles (such as ‘I’ll
Be Good To You,’ ‘Strawberry Letter 23’ and ‘Stomp!’, cut for A&M Records
Initially working with the legendary Quincy Jones, the talented brothers
had been part of Billy Preston’s band before Jones spotted them during a
rehearsal they were doing with Stevie Wonder.
After two platinum albums, George and Louis began working on their third
A&M set, BLAM!! in 1978 and with the hits, ‘Ride-O-Rocket’ (penned by the
famed team of Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson) and ‘Ain’t We Funkin’ Now’ - also both U.K.
Top 50 charted singles - the album
became the duo’s third platinum and highest-charting LP.
JI - Junior
London-born Junior Giscombe started his musical career working with
popular British black music band Linx between 1980-82. A one-off 1980 single enjoyed some
popularity in clubs in the UK and France, prompting then Phonogram A&R
executive Roger Ames to track him down, resulting in a contract with the company
in the UK and releases on Mercury Records.
Of the first two tracks he recorded for the label, Ames picked ‘Mama
Used To Say’ and within months, Junior had landed a Top 30 pop and No. 2
R&B hit single in the U.S., becoming the first British black music artist
to appear on the popular American TV show, "Soul Train” and essentially the
first such artist to achieve a major chart breakthrough in the U.S. Now a classic anthem, ‘Mama Used To Say’ was
also a Top 10 UK hit and prompted Junior to complete his first album, "Ji”.