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Big Break Watch: Shalamar, Isley Brothers Lead Recent Reissue Slate

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Shalamar Friends 2CDA host of ’80s R&B titles are out in the U.K. this week from Cherry Red’s Big Break offshoot. They include a double-disc expansion of one of Shalamar’s best-loved albums, plus expanded editions of a few LPs by the likes of The Isley Brothers, The Gap Band and Billy Paul.

While 1982 was the year of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, U.K. R&B enthusiasts also count another album as influential to the genre that year: Shalamar’s Friends. After a string of hits around the world for the trio comprised of Jody Watley, Jeffrey Daniel and Howard Hewitt, Friends was their most successful album in England, owing to a seminal performance on Top of the Pops where Daniel demonstrated popping, locking and even (a year before Jackson did it on American television) moonwalking. “A Night to Remember,” “There It Is” and “I Can Make You Feel Good” were all Top 10 hits, with the title track peaking at No. 12. Daniel and Watley left the group after 1983’s The Look (with Watley enjoying worldwide solo success in the late ’80s, and Daniel working with Jackson in choreographing several music videos for singles from Bad in 1987 and 1988), making this one of the last and most iconic examples of the “classic” lineup of this revered trio.

The deluxe Friends includes three “outtakes” from the Friends era that were released on 1981’s Go for It album (a quickly-released LP from the band’s label, Solar Records’, transition from major-label distributors), as well as a bonus disc of single edits and remixes. A deluxe liner notes booklet features a new interview with Watley, adding insight into the era of Shalamar as U.K. hitmakers.

And what else is being released by BBR today? Hit the jump to find out!

Winner Takes All BBRWith disco in full swing by 1979, even the most traditional soul acts were willing to try their hand at this new form of dance music. One such example: The Isley Brothers, long known as traditional R&B and quiet-storm pioneers, embraced disco on their seventh album to be distributed by Epic Records, Winner Takes All. And what an embrace: Winner was a double-LP, which still managed strong sales in both the Top 20 of Billboard‘s pop charts and the Top 5 of the R&B albums list. (Lead single “I Wanna Be with You” was a No. 1 R&B hit.) A remix of follow-up single “It’s a Disco Night” is the bonus track on this new CD edition of the album.

Sweat Band BBROne name that was no stranger to dance music in the ’70s and ’80s was Bootsy Collins. The bassist was well-known as both a member of George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic collective (one of 15 members inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for his efforts) and a solo act, leading his “Rubber Band” through a series of kinetic P-Funk LPs including 1978’s hit Bootsy? Player of the Year. While his 1980 LP was credited to “Sweat Band” (a legal dispute had cost him the Rubber Band moniker), it’s very much of the same DNA, with help from guitarists Gary Shider and Michael Hampton, keyboardist Bernie Worrell and horn master Maceo Parker. Clinton was credited as executive producer, and his then-new Uncle Jam label (distributed by CBS Records) counted Sweat Band as one of its first projects. Two single edits are appended to this album presentation for a little bit of extra funk.

Gap Band VIII BBRReleased in 1985, The Gap Band’s ninth album Gap Band VII (debut album Magicians Holiday (1974) skipped the sequential self-titled formula of most of their work, and their next two albums in 1977 and 1979 were both titled The Gap Band) was one of their last big hit LPs on the R&B charts, being the last to hit the Top 10 R&B charts in the U.S. and spawning the No. 2 R&B hit “Going in Circles.” Big Break now adds this album to their roster, having expanded both the preceding and following albums in recent years. Not only is this the premiere CD release for Gap Band VII, but six additional 12″ remixes are added to the program.

Another title from 1985 making its CD debut is Lately, an album of soul balladry by Billy Paul. This was the first album in six years for the “Me and Mrs. Jones” hitmaker; after a long tenure on Philadelphia International Records in the ’70s, Lately would be his sole album for Total Experience Records and second-to-last studio album.

All track lists, plus Amazon links on both sides of the Atlantic, are below! (Note, of course, that these will ship as imports for next week.)

Shalamar, Friends: Deluxe Edition (Big Break Records CDBBRXD0200 (U.K.), 2013)

Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Disc 1: Original LP (released as SOLAR S-28, 1982) and session outtakes (released on Go for It – SOLAR LP BXL1-3984, 1981)

  1. A Night to Remember
  2. Don’t Try to Change Me
  3. Help Me
  4. On Top of the World
  5. I Don’t Wanna Be the Last to Know
  6. Friends
  7. Playing to Win
  8. I Just Stopped By Because I Had To
  9. There It Is
  10. I Can Make You Feel Good
  11. Talk to Me
  12. Good Feelings
  13. Sweeter As the Days Go By

Disc 2: Bonus material

  1. A Night to Remember (M&M Extended Mix) (U.K. 12″ A-side – MCA SHALT 3, 1986)
  2. There It Is (M&M Instrumental Remix) (from bonus 12″ with The Greatest Hits – Stylus Music SMR 8615 RM, 1986)
  3. Friends (Extended Version) (U.K. 12″ A-side – Solar CHUM 1T, 1982)
  4. I Can Make You Feel Good (7” Version) (single A-side – Solar K 12599, 1982)
  5. A Night to Remember (7” Version) (U.K. single A-side – Solar K 13162, 1982)
  6. There It Is (Single Version) (U.K. single A-side – Solar K 13194, 1981)
  7. Help Me (Single Version) (single A-side – Solar 7-69958, 1982)
  8. Friends (Single Version) (U.K. single A-side – Solar CHUM 1, 1982)
  9. A Night to Remember (12″ Remix) (U.K. 12″ A-side – Solar K 13162T, 1982)
  10. There It Is (Extended Version) (U.K. 12″ A-side – Solar K 13194T, 1981)
  11. A Mix to Remember (from bonus 12″ with The Greatest Hits – Stylus Music SMR 8615 RM, 1986)
  12. A Night to Remember (M&M Instrumental Mix) (U.K. 12″ A-side – MCA SHALT 3, 1986)

The Isley Brothers, Winner Takes All: Expanded Edition (originally released as T-Neck LP PZ2-36077, 1979 – reissued Big Break Records CDBBR0220 (U.K.), 2013)

Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

  1. I Wanna Be with You (Parts 1 & 2)
  2. Liquid Love (Parts 1 & 2)
  3. Winner Takes All
  4. Life in the City (Parts 1 & 2)
  5. It’s a Disco Night (Rock Don’t Stop) (Parts 1 & 2)
  6. (Can’t You See) What You Do to Me?
  7. Let’s Fall in Love (Parts 1 & 2)
  8. How Lucky I Am (Parts 1 & 2)
  9. You’re the Key to My Heart
  10. You’re Beside Me (Parts 1 & 2)
  11. Let Me Into Your Life (Parts 1 & 2)
  12. Love Comes and Goes (Parts 1 & 2)
  13. Go for What You Know
  14. Mind Over Matter (Parts 1 & 2)
  15. It’s a Disco Night (Rock Don’t Stop) (Parts 1 & 2) (Special Disco Version) (12″ A-side – T-Neck 4Z8-2289, 1979)

Bootsy Collins Presents Sweat Band, Sweat Band: Expanded Edition (originally released as Uncle Jam LP JZ-36857, 1980 – reissued Big Break Records CDBBR0221 (U.K.), 2013)

Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

  1. Hyper Space
  2. Freak to Freak
  3. Love Munch
  4. We Do It All Day Long
  5. Jamaica
  6. Body Shop
  7. We Do It All Day Long (Reprise)
  8. Freak to Freak (Single Version) (single A-side – Uncle Jam ZS9 9901, 1980)
  9. Body Shop (Single Version) (single A-side – Uncle Jam ZS6 70067, 1980)

The Gap Band, Gap Band VII: Expanded Edition (originally released as Total Experience LP TEL8-5714, 1985 – reissued Big Break Records CDBBR0223 (U.K.), 2013)

Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

  1. Desire
  2. Going in Circles
  3. Automatic Brain
  4. Li’l Red Funkin’ Hood
  5. Ooh, What a Feeling
  6. I Want a Real Love
  7. Bumpin’ Gum People
  8. I Know We’ll Make It
  9. I Need Your Love
  10. Desire (Special Remix) (12″ A-side – Total Experience TED1-2624, 1985)
  11. Going in Circles (12″ Long Version) (12″ A-side – Total Experience TED1-2632, 1985)
  12. Automatic Brain (Club Mix) (12″ promo A-side – Total Experience TED1-2636-DJ, 1988)
  13. Desire (Dub Version) (12″ B-side – Total Experience TED1-2624, 1985)
  14. Going in Circles (Instrumental with Harmonica) (12″ B-side – Total Experience TED1-2632, 1985)
  15. Automatic Brain (Rap Version) (12″ promo B-side – Total Experience TED1-2636-DJ, 1988)

Billy Paul, Lately: Expanded Edition (originally released as Total Experience LP TEL8-5711, 1985 – reissued Big Break Records CDBBR0224 (U.K.), 2013)

Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

  1. Fire in Her Love
  2. Sexual Therapy
  3. Lately
  4. I Search No More
  5. I Only Have Eyes for You
  6. Hot Date
  7. Get Down to Lovin’
  8. Let Me In
  9. Me and You
  10. On a Clear Day
  11. Lately (Single Version) (single A-side – Total Experience FB-49899 (U.K.), 1985)

Written by Mike Duquette

April 29, 2013 at 13:34

One Response

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  1. actually those arent session out takes they appeared on GO FOR IT


    April 29, 2013 at 17:20

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