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Archive for the ‘Silver Convention’ Category

Big Break Is “On Fire” With Latest Quartet Of Releases From Anita Pointer, Silver Convention, More

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Anita PointerAnita Pointer’s solo debut might have seemed inevitable.  She had sung lead on many of The Pointer Sisters’ biggest hits including Allen Toussaint’s “Yes We Can Can” and co-wrote the Grammy-winning “Fairytale.”  By the time she released Love For What It Is on RCA in 1987, Anita was following in the footsteps of sisters Bonnie (who left the group in 1977 for a Motown solo contract) and June (with 1983’s Baby Sister).  The album arrived on the heels of the success of “Too Many Times,” a duet with Earl Thomas Conley that landed Anita on the Country chart at No. 2, but wasn’t country-flavored.  Instead, Anita and RCA turned to R&B veteran Preston Glass to produce.

Glass, whose production C.V. included Whitney Houston, Phyllis Hyman and Aretha Franklin, also co-wrote a couple tracks on the nine-song album – one with Brenda Russell (“Beware of What You Want”) and one with Alan Glass and Ron Broomfield (“More Than a Memory”).  The album’s opening track, “Overnight Success,” was penned by Motown vets Brenda and Michael Sutton, while Tom Snow and Jennifer Kimball provided “The Pledge,” a duet with Earth Wind and Fire’s Philip Bailey.  “Overnight” peaked at a respectable No. 41 on the R&B Singles chart, with “More than a Memory” only making it to No. 73.  Despite its sleek, soulful sound, Love For What It Is only made it to No. 48 on the Cash Box R&B Albums Chart.  BBR has uncovered this underrated LP for an expanded edition boasting six bonus tracks – three mixes of each of the two singles.  Reissue co-producer Christian John Wikane has written the detailed new liner notes based on an interview with Anita, and Nick Robbins has remastered.  It’s presented in a Super Jewel Box.

Silver Convention - MadhouseBBR dips back into the Silver Convention catalogue for the West German disco act’s third release.  This expansion of 1976’s Madhouse follows the label’s reissues of Silver Convention’s first two albums Save Me and Get Up and Boogie.  For Madhouse, producers Sylvester Levay and Michael Kunze injected a stronger element of funk into their set of ten original songs performed by the group line-up of Penny McLean, Ramona Wulf and Rhonda Heath.  Foreshadowing Kunze’s later involvement in musical theatre, Madhouse was also conceived as a loose concept album, or a Wild Party for the disco set.  The titular madhouse appeared on the album artwork, and songs included “Fancy Party,” “I’m Not a Slot Machine,” “Magic Mountain” and a title song, too.  The funky theme park of an album, however, didn’t match the success of its predecessors.  In the U.S., the LP peaked at No. 65 Pop/No. 47 R&B, and the single “Dancing in the Aisles (Take Me Higher)” only reached No. 102 Pop/No. 80 R&B.  Stephen “SPAZ” Schnee provides a brief essay on the album’s history, and the single mixes of “Fancy Party” (released in Germany) and “Dancing in the Aisles” have been included, too.   Remastering has again been handled by Nick Robbins.

After the jump: BBR gets shocked with 5000 Volts and is downright sinful with Rinder and Lewis – plus track listings and order links for all four titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

December 12, 2014 at 11:08

Get Up and Boogie: A Big Break Bounty, Part One

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Silver Convention - BoogieWith a monthly release slate averaging six titles, Cherry Red’s Big Break Records label is at the vanguard of classic soul, R&B and dance reissues.  Each of the label’s deluxe releases is aimed at collectors, with copious liner notes and more often than not, a selection of rare bonus cuts.  It’s been a busy summer for the Big Break team, and in this first of a two-part series, we’ll look at some of the label’s latest offerings!

Silver Convention, Get Up and Boogie (1976):  Earlier this year, BBR reissued the debut album from Silver Convention.  Save Me (1975) featured the first iteration of the group and its two big disco hits, “Save Me” (Disco No. 10, 1975) and “Fly, Robin, Fly” (Pop/Disco/R&B No.1, AC No. 6, 1975).  Get Up and Boogie, from 1976, continues the Silver Convention story.  The sophomore album, again masterminded by the team of composer/arranger Sylvester Levay and lyricist/producer Michael Kunze, introduced a new, leaner line-up of vocalists Penny McLean, Linda G. Thompson and Ramona Wulf and yielded two more hits: the irresistible call-to-the-dancefloor title cut (Pop No. 2/R&B and Disco No. 5) and “No, No, Joe” (Pop No. 60/R&B No. 34/Disco No. 14).  A defining example of The Munich Sound, Get Up and Boogie has been expanded with three extended disco mixes including a previously unreleased mix of “Get Up and Boogie,” plus new liner notes from Christian John Wikane and remastering from reissue producer Wayne A. Dickson.

Jesse Green, Nice and Slow (1976): The same year Silver Convention was imploring listeners to “Get up and Boogie,” Jamaican reggae artist Jesse Green was hoping listeners would take it Nice and Slow.  Though multi-instrumentalist Green came up in the world of reggae, backing The Pioneers and playing drums for Jimmy Cliff, he pursued a soulful disco sound for his debut solo record.  Produced by Dave Howman and Ken Gibson, and recorded in Switzerland and London, Nice and Slow nonetheless subtly drew upon its Jamaican roots in Green’s breezy delivery and tropical rhythms.  With an expansive production of strings and horns, and the singer’s sweet falsetto shining through, Nice and Slow scored Green a No. 1 Disco hit in the U.S. (on the Scepter label, once home to Dionne Warwick and B.J. Thomas) and another Top 20 Disco track with “Flip,” on United Artists.  “Nice and Slow” also earned Green a Top 20 Pop placement in the U.K. (No. 17).  The album includes notes from Stephen “SPAZ” Schnee and a full plate of five bonus tracks:  alternate versions of “Flip,” “Don’t Knock My Love” and “Don’t Let Me Down,” and 12-inch mixes of “Nice and Slow” and “Flip.”  Nick Robbins has remastered, and BBR has been kind enough to disclose that, due to the lack of available master tapes, some tracks were mastered from a pristine vinyl source.

After the jump: catch some Jungle Fever, Get Down with Gene Chandler, and discover Cado Belle! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 7, 2014 at 10:06

Life Is A Dance: BBR Reissues Chaka Khan, Silver Convention, Instant Funk

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Chaka Khan - ChakaChaka Khan announced her solo freedom with “I’m Every Woman,” the euphoric opening track on 1978’s Chaka. At 25 years old, Khan was already a veteran of the funk-rock band Rufus with whom she had recorded landmark hits like “Tell Me Something Good” and “Sweet Thing,” but Chaka took her passionate style in a new, mainstream R&B direction. The Warner Bros. album, produced by the legendarily versatile Arif Mardin (Dusty Springfield, Bette Midler, The Bee Gees), placed Khan’s powerful voice front and center with the support of the cream of New York’s session scene. BBR has newly remastered Chaka for its 35th anniversary.

Ashford and Simpson’s fiery “I’m Every Woman,” tailor-made by the songwriters for Khan, would be a tough act to follow on any album. But the musically sophisticated Mardin, renowned for having “the greatest ears in town” as per one accurate tribute, curated a selection of songs to show off each facet of Khan’s vocal instrument. Khan had the intuition of a jazz singer, the pipes of a gospel singer, the grit of an R&B shouter, and the intuition of a pop star – making for an unbeatable, distinctive style.  The album boasted a remarkably consistent sound in no small part due to the participation of the top-tier musicians who were well-versed in both pop and jazz, among them The Brecker Brothers, Richard Tee, David Sanborn, Airto Moreira, and Will Lee.

Don’t miss a thing!  There’s more on Chaka, plus Instant Funk and Silver Convention, after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

June 3, 2014 at 14:07