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Put Your Hands Together: The O’Jays, Delegation, Black Slate, Donna Allen, George McCrae Arrive from BBR

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O'Jays - Ship AhoyThe many varied strains of soul and R&B have long found a home at Cherry Red’s Big Break Records imprint, and this week’s offerings from the label are no different, with five albums having just arrived from five very different artists on both sides of the Atlantic.

The most well-known release in this batch is The O’Jays’ 1973 opus Ship Ahoy, produced and largely written by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff for their Philadelphia International label.  Though it yielded the hit singles “Put Our Hands Together” and “For the Love of Money,” Ship Ahoy was, in fact, one of the most intricate collections to come from the Philly team.  BBR’s deluxe 40th anniversary reissue includes three bonus tracks (a live version of “Put Your Hands Together” plus the single edits of “For the Love of Money” and the ballad “Now That We Found Love”) and a new essay from Christian John Wikane.  Ship Ahoy follows BBR’s past reissue of 1972’s Back Stabbers.  Watch this space for a full review of Ship Ahoy very soon!

George McCrae - Diamond TouchDiamond Touch is BBR’s third reissue from the TK Records catalogue of George McCrae, following his breakthrough Rock Your Baby and second, eponymous album.  1976’s Diamond Touch replaced the KC and the Sunshine Band production team of Harry Wayne Casey and Richard Finch with Gregg Diamond (Andrea True Connection’s “More, More, More”).  Diamond and McCrae set up shop in New York, away from the singer’s usual Florida home base, and the producer – whose influence even extended, obviously, to the album’s title – replaced the breezy good-time feel of KC’s productions with grandiose strings, horns and four-on-the-floor disco rhythms.  The gamble paid off when “Love in Motion” scored a No. 4 placement on the U.S. disco chart.  Yet the album didn’t fare well, and Diamond moved on to bring his touch elsewhere including to studio group Bionic Boogie.  McCrae soon returned to the tried-and-true and even reunited with Casey and Finch in 1979.  BBR revisits his bold experiment with two bonus tracks (singles of “Love in Motion” and “Givin’ Back the Feeling”) and new liner notes from J. Matthew Cobb.

After the jump: what’s just been reissued from Delegation, Donna Allen and Black Slate? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

March 8, 2013 at 10:17