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Sky High: Two Classic Albums By Tavares Are Reissued and Expanded

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Tucked away on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack between Walter Murphy’s “A Fifth of Beethoven” and David Shire’s “Manhattan Skyline” is where you’ll find “More Than a Woman” by Tavares.  Although the Bee Gees’ version of their own song remains a radio staple today, it was in fact Tavares’ version that was released as a single, hitting No. 32 in the United States and No. 7 across the pond.  But that essential track is just one of the famous songs popularized by Tavares.  The band of five brothers from New Bedford, Massachusetts (Ralph, Pooch, Chubby, Butch and Tiny!) started their career in 1959 as Chubby and the Turnpikes, even scoring a couple of local hits on the Capitol label in the latter portion of the 1960s.  But when the group named changed to Tavares, their actual surname, their fortune soared.  Though (much like “More Than a Woman”) Hall and Oates’ version is better-remembered today, Tavares took “She’s Gone” to No.1  on the R&B charts in 1974, two years before the Philly soul duo’s own rendition took off.  In 1975, Tavares scored an R&B chart-topper that also went Top 10 pop with “It Only Takes a Minute,” but the album from which it was derived, In the City, had never been reissued on CD…until now.  The label of the Cherry Red Group will follow its reissues of Freda Payne and Al Johnson classics with two expanded Tavares albums, 1975’s In the City and 1976’s Sky High!.  The latter spawned another major hit, “Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel.”

In the City and Sky High! were the third and fourth (of nine) albums recorded by Tavares at Capitol Records between 1974 and 1980.  Like its predecessor Hard Core Poetry, In the City boasted the considerable production and songwriting skill of Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter (The Four Tops, The Grass Roots, Glen Campbell).  In the City includes three Top 15 R&B hits, the ballad “The Love I Never Had,” the smash “It Only Takes A Minute” and most surprisingly, a cover of the Edgar Winter Group’s “Free Ride.”  (Both “The Love I Never Had” and “It Only Takes a Minute” were the work of Lambert and Potter.)  Tavares’ eclectic streak continued to the album tracks, with the Average White Band’s “Nothing You Can Do” covered.  For the new edition, two bonus tracks have been appended, both the U.S. single edit and extended remix of “It Only Takes a Minute.”

What came next for Tavares?  Just hit the jump!

Following the huge success of “It Only Takes a Minute,” the group went in another direction and teamed up with Freddie Perren.  A former member of Motown’s “Corporation” collective and one of the creative minds behind Jackson 5 hits like “I Want You Back” and “The Love You Save,” Perren had recently jumped ship for Capitol, where he would also guide The Sylvers to fame with “Boogie Fever.”  He produced Sky High!, which was proven an apt title when it became the biggest album of Tavares’ career.  “Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel” became a No. 1 Dance, No. 3 R&B and Top 20 pop hit and hit No. 4 Pop in the U.K. as well. The dancefloor anthem “Don’t Take Away the Music” was also No. 4 in the U.K. and reached the top spot on the U.S. dance music charts.  Perren had a hand in writing “Heaven,” while Tavares themselves wrote “Don’t Take Away the Music.”  Sky High! has been expanded by no less than six bonus tracks, including four (!) versions of “Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel” and two of “Don’t Take Away The Music.”   These tracks fully evince the glossy disco sheen that would lead the group to its prominent place on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.

Both reissues contain new liner notes by founder David Nathan drawing on new interviews from members of the group conducted just for these reissues.  Sky High! will be in stores on August 15 in the U.K. while In the City follows just one week later on August 23.  Pre-order links can be found below.

Tavares, In the City: Expanded Edition ( Records SMCR 5022, 2011)

  1. It Only Takes a Minute
  2. Fool’s Hall of Fame
  3. The Love I Never Had
  4. Nothing You Can Do
  5. In the Eyes of Love
  6. Ready, Willing and Able
  7. We Fit to a Tee
  8. Free Ride
  9. I Hope She Chooses Me
  10. In the City
  11. It Only Takes a Minute (U.S. Single) (Capitol 4111, 1975)
  12. It Only Takes a Minute (Extended Remix) (possibly Unidisc SPEC-1473, 1990 or SPEC-1681, 1994)

Tavares, Sky High!: Expanded Edition ( Records SMCR 5023, 2011)

  1. The Mighty Power of Love
  2. Ridin’ High
  3. To the Other Man
  4. Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel
  5. Bein’ with You
  6. Wonderful
  7. Guiding Star
  8. Don’t take Away the Music
  9. Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel (Part 1) (U.S. Single) (Capitol 4270, 1976)
  10. Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel (Part 2) (U.S. Single) (Capitol 4270, 1976)
  11. Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel (U.K. 12-inch single Remix) (possibly Capitol PSLP 188, 1976)
  12. Don’t Take Away the Music (U.K. 12-inch single Remix) (possibly Capitol PSLP 188, 1976)
  13. Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel (Irresistible Angel Mix) (Capitol 12TAV 1 (U.K.), 1985)
  14. Don’t Take Away the Music (Irresistible Angel Mix) (Capitol 12TAV 1 (U.K.), 1985)

Written by Joe Marchese

July 22, 2011 at 11:30

Posted in News, Reissues, Tavares

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