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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!

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Written by Mike Duquette

April 29, 2013 at 13:34