The Second Disc

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Archive for the ‘The Emotions’ Category

Come Into Their World: Dance Classics From The Emotions, Foxy Arrive On BBR

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Emotions - Come Into Our WorldWe have plenty of news coming your way from Big Break Records as the Cherry Red soul specialists have closed out 2013 and already announced plans for 2014 in a big way.  Before we dive into recent releases from Joe Bataan, The Salsoul Orchestra, Chris Jasper and Herbie Mann, we wouldn’t want you to miss two recent disco-flavored releases from The Emotions and Foxy!

The BBR label welcomes The Emotions, appropriately enough, with the R&B girl group’s 1979 album entitled Come Into Our World.  Jeanette, Wanda and Sheila Hutchinson first combined their voices in song as The Heavenly Sunbeams (also sometimes known as The Hutchinson Sunbeams), but by the late sixties, they expanded their purview from gospel to secular music and signed to the legendary Stax label’s Volt imprint as The Emotions.  The group released three albums at Stax, but by the end of 1975, the historic label had declared bankruptcy.  Undeterred, however, The Emotions turned to an old friend from their hometown of Chicago: onetime Ramsey Lewis Trio drummer and then-Earth Wind & Fire leader Maurice White.

White’s sure commercial instincts and impeccable musicianship proved to be a perfect match for The Emotions.  White and Charles Stepney helmed The Emotions’ 1976 Columbia Records debut Flowers, which earned a Top 5 R&B peak and yielded two hit singles, “Flowers” and “I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love.”  The girls had even more reason to Rejoice, however, when the album of that name was released in 1977.  White co-wrote and produced “Best of My Love,” the lead-off track of the Rejoice album, and it established The Emotions as red-hot artists for the disco era.   The Grammy-winning song went No.1 Pop and R&B, and the album topped the R&B chart as well as going Top 10 on the Billboard 200.

Another gold album followed for The Emotions, Maurice White and Columbia Records with 1978’s Sunbeam.  It didn’t match the success of Rejoice, but all three parties were riding high when the Hutchinson sisters joined Earth Wind & Fire for “Boogie Wonderland,” a No. 6 Pop/No. 2 R&B hit in 1979. (The line-up was a bit fluid in those heady days.  Jeanette, who had been spelled in the group during the Stax era by friend Theresa Davis, departed in 1977 while pregnant, and was replaced by youngest Hutchinson sister Pamela.  Jeanette soon returned to the fold, but it’s the Pamela-Wanda-Sheila line-up still performing today.)

The stage was set for 1979’s Come Into Our World.  Maurice White again produced what would turn out to be the most dancefloor-oriented album of The Emotions’ career to that point.  Sheila, Jeanette and Wanda were joined by Pamela and their brother Joey, plus a “Who’s Who” of musicians including Toto’s David Paich on keyboards, Average White Band’s Steve Ferrone on drums, Keni Burke and EW&F’s Verdine White on bass, and the ubiquitous Paulinho da Costa on percussion.  David Foster and Allee Willis (co-writer of “Boogie Wonderland”) co-wrote “What’s the Name of Your Love” with Maurice, and the trio was rewarded with a No. 30 R&B hit.  Foster and White joined Sheila to pen “On and On,” and David Paich joined White, Willis and Foster for “The Movie,” on which White appears in a vocal spot.  Other songs came from writers including Ross Vannelli (Gino Vannelli’s “I Just Wanna Stop”) and R&B vet Marlo Henderson.  Come Into Our World reached a No. 35 R&B/No. 96 Pop peak; it turned out to be the group’s penultimate release with Columbia and Maurice White’s ARC imprint.

Big Break’s expanded edition, remastered by Nick Robbins, adds three bonus tracks: the single versions of “Where Is Your Love” and “I Should Be Dancing,” and single B-side “My Baby Dance.”  Steven E. Flemming, Jr. has scribed the new liner notes recounting this crucial period in the group’s history.

After the jump: we get Foxy! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 6, 2014 at 14:36

Wu-Tang’s RZA Compiles Classic Stax for “Shaolin Soul”

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RZA Shaolin SoulA new compilation of music from Stax Records is coming courtesy of a most interesting source: rapper/producer/actor/director RZA of The Wu-Tang Clan.

The man born Robert Fitzgerald Diggs has rarely slowed down in the 20 years since Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) was released in the winter of 1993. Besides producing most of his group’s early records and solo projects (including ODB’s Return to the 36 Chambers, GZA’s Liquid Swords, Method Man’s Tical and Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx…), RZA has also made a name for himself in prose (writing and co-writing Wu-Tang guidebooks The Wu-Tang Manual and The Tao of Wu) and film, turning in solid performances in Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarrettes, Ridley Scott’s American Gangster, and most recently The Man with the Iron Fists, a martial-arts flick he also co-wrote and directed.

Now, he’s taking a small detour by overseeing this new compilation of Stax tracks through his own label, Soul Temple. The RZA Presents Shaolin Soul Selection Volume 1 (not to be confused with a similarly-titled 2001 compilation on the Koch label consisting of soul songs sampled by the Clan) will span two CDs or three vinyl LPs and feature 24 tracks by Isaac Hayes, The Meters, Albert King, The Emotions, William Bell, Booker T & The M.G.’s and many more.

A mix of selections from the compilation, due out March 19, has been commissioned by DJ 7L, and can be heard on the above video or on Soul Temple’s Bandcamp page, where special album and t-shirt bundles are currently up for sale. The full track list and Amazon links for the regular CD set are after the jump!

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Written by Mike Duquette

February 20, 2013 at 15:49