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Barry’s B’s

with 4 comments

It may be winter outside (especially in my neck of the woods – I live in one of those places labeled as a “snowpocalypse” or “snowmageddon” in the news), but in my heart it’s always spring. And why not? It’s always a good time of year for catalogue music, whether you’re listening to it, buying it or (oh you lucky ones) working on it. And Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, making it a great time here at The Second Disc to pen a few features on some great romantic hitmakers.

One of my favorites of late has got to be Barry White. Now, to make it plain, I have a bit of a bias: at my old internship at Universal Music Enterprises – the catalogue label group that holds the distribution rights to White’s material – a good part of the spring and summer was scored by the Maestro, work which culminated in Unlimited, last year’s five-disc box set of rarities and outtakes. And I did a bit of work on the set – mostly some discographical verification (not enough to get credit).

As a catalogue fan, though, the set is captivating, through and through. Those out there who dug White’s production work for other artists like Tom Brock, Gene Page, Danny Pearson, Gloria Scott and his own Love Unlimited Orchestra and singing group have rich rewards to mine from the set. Those works really distinguish the real Barry White – a deeply romantic, focused and talented singer, songwriter and arranger – from the cartoonish “walrus of love” caricature that his music is sometimes too quick to fall into.

That said, though, there are still a few stones that would be fun to turn over in White’s vast catalogue of hits. After the jump, take a look at some vault treasures that would make a great addition to any lover’s collection. Hopefully it’ll inspire you to break out the classics for this fine Valentine’s weekend.

One of the facets of White’s solo career that’s sadly been overlooked on reissues and box sets is his many B-sides. Nearly every one of his early solo singles, not to mention those he produced for the Love Unlimited girl group, were backed by an instrumental of the same track. Pretty straightforward stuff, I know, but it’s nice to hear that lush arrangement in a slightly different context – and the fact that nearly all of the instrumentals had their own unique titles (i.e.: not just “Song Title (Instrumental)”) gives the listener a sense that these were meant to be paid attention to in their own light.

I seriously believe that a compilation of all these songs on their own might be a real treat. And they’d be a perfect romantic playlist; why let the vocalists do all the heavy lifting when you can say sweet nothings to your partner while the sweet sounds of the Love Unlimited Orchestra backs you up? Here’s a list from which a potential Barry’s B’s could be mined one of these days.

  • Just a Little More, Baby (B-side to “I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More, Baby” single – 20th Century Records TC-2018)
  • Yes We Finally Made It (B-side to “Oh Love (Well We Finally Made It)” single – 2oth Century Records TC-2025)*
  • I’ve Got So Much to Give (Instrumental) (B-side to “I’ve Got So Much to Give” single – 20th Century Records TC-2042)
  • No, I’m Never Gonna Give Ya Up (B-side to “Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up” single – 20th Century Records TC-2058 (RE-2))
  • Winter Again (B-side to “It May Be Winter Outside” single – 2oth Century Records TC-2062)*
  • Honey Please, Can’t Ya See (Instrumental) (B-side to “Honey Please, Can’t Ya See” single – 20th Century Records TC-2077)
  • Under the Influence of Love (Instrumental) (B-side to “Under the Influence of Love” single – 20th Century Records TC-2082)*
  • Just Not Enough (B-side to “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe” single – 20th Century Records TC-2120)
  • More Than Anything, You’re My Everything (B-side to “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything” single – 20th Century Records TC-2133)
  • And Only You (B-side to “I Belong to You” single – 2oth Century Records TC-2141)*
  • What Am I Gonna Do with You Baby? (B-side to “What Am I Gonna Do with You” single – 20th Century Records TC-2177)
  • Anything You Want Me To (B-side to “I’ll Do for You Anything You Want Me To” single – 20th Century Records TC-2208)
  • Let the Music Play (Instrumental) (B-side to “Let the Music Play” single – 20th Century Records TC-2265)**
  • Can’t You See It’s Only You I Want (B-side to “Don’t Make Me Wait Too Long” single – 2oth Century Records TC-2309)
  • I’m Qualified to Satisfy You (Instrumental) (B-side to “I’m Qualified to Satisfy You” single – 20th Century Records TC-2328)
  • I Did It for Love (Instrumental) (B-side to “I Did It for Love” single – Unlimited Gold UG-7001)*
  • It Ain’t Love, Babe (Until You Give It) (Instrumental) (B-side to “It Ain’t Love, Babe (Until You Give It)” single – Unlimited Gold ZSB-1404)
  • High-Steppin’, Hip-Dressin’ Fella (Instrumental) (B-side to “High-Steppin’, Hip-Dressin’ Fella” single – Unlimited Gold ZS9-1409)*
  • Sheet Music (12″ Instrumental) (B-side to “Sheet Music” 12″ single – Unlimited Gold Z59-1415)
  • Sho’ You Right (Instrumental) (B-side to “Sho’ You Right” 12″ single – A&M SP-12237)
  • Follow That and See (Where It Leads Y’all) (Instrumental) (B-side to “Follow That and See (Where It Leads Y’all)” single – A&M USA 670)
  • Practice What You Preach (Instrumental) (B-side to “Practice What You Preach” U.K. CD single – A&M 580 815-2)
  • There It Is (Instrumental) (B-side to “There It Is” single – A&M 31458 1125 2)

* – denotes Love Unlimited song
** – There’s a longer version of on a Love Unlimited Orchestra compilation in 1995 – part of Mercury’s “Funk Essentials” series.

Another enormous treat that would be fun to hear on CD is Barry White’s Greatest Hits. Now, you’re probably thinking that such a compilation is readily available in any record store. To that I say: not the compilation I”m thinking of. When White’s first commercial compilation was released in 1975 (20th Century Records T-493), a white-label promo (labelled “For Disco DJs Only” and catalogue-numbered TCD-50).

How was it different? Not only was the track line-up different, but the songs were presented in slightly different mixes – in some cases longer or slightly alternate to their LP counterparts – and each side (“Standing in the Shadows of Love,” “I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More, Baby” and “Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up” on Side 1, and “Honey Please, Can’t Ya See,” “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe,” “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything” and “What Am I Gonna Do with You” on Side 2) were presented as continuous, segued mixes. I’d buy this just for the mix of “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything” alone, which has an entirely different vocal track (if you live in the New York metro area, you can sometimes hear this version on certain radio stations – I’m not sure how I can describe the differences but they are there).

Hope this gives you some insight into some of the wonderful catalogue work that can still be done with Barry White. And keep your eyes peeled for some other features on romantic greats in the days leading up to Valentine’s Day weekend.

Written by Mike Duquette

February 10, 2010 at 13:02

Posted in Barry White, Features

4 Responses

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  1. I loved this box…recent purchase. I actually contacted Donald Cleveland (credited on the box as A&R) as we are both members of the forums, and in addition to congratulating him on the box and his new disco reissue label, I suggested he nudge Hip-O Select about doing a B-side instrumental collection of some sort and he cryptically responded that something just might be in the pipeline.

    Fingers crossed.


    February 11, 2010 at 16:39

    • Hip-O Select just tweeted a tease about more Barry White coming up. Prescient, isn’t it? I swear I knew nothing.

      Mike Duquette

      February 11, 2010 at 20:40

  2. ………and then it turned out to be the first album with the instrumental tracks appended. hey listen- I’m as disappointed as the next guy. But yet again, not. Torn is a better adjective?

    I still think they will do an all instrumrntals disc, but in business fashion- they are going to “reconfigure” all the profit they can. Nothing wrong with that I suppose. It just means we have to wait longer.

    And 2012 is still coming, right? Did the Mayans predict digital storage? Will we be around to buy that Barry’s B’s disc? Stay tuned…..

    Donald Cleveland

    Donald Cleveland

    February 26, 2010 at 19:06

    • Ever the eternal optimist, I’ll wait as long as it takes to get more BW goodness. And Donald! Much obliged for the work you did on the Unlimited box. Disc 4 was THE jam when I interned at UMe, it’s worth the price of admission alone.

      Mike Duquette

      February 27, 2010 at 01:38

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