Friday, 3 April 2009

10 x 12 - A Bad Album 1986

Portrait Records PRT 26920
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This is for those of you that are not old enough to remember the 80's club scene. This is a sampler album that hit the spot in early 1986. Black Music has not always been mainstream. It used to be 'underground' or 'specialist' and became overly popular in certain eras. I guess Tamla Motown was probably the first Black Music become Pop Music. Disco also had a good go before the mainstream 'White' market stole it and milked it relentlessly causing, in the process, 'the death of Disco'.

Interestingly, that cull enabled the wonderful process that led to the advent of House & Garage. Allow me to digress a little more here. When I say House & Garage, I ain't talking about the shite we in the UK now refer to as House & Garage in the Noughties. That's actually Bassline & 90's 2 Step.

In the meantime, incredible things were happening on the underground Black Music scene. Rapping, Hip Hop, Electro, Breakdancing, Graffitti, Jazz Funk, Cherry (Jerry?) Curls, Extensions, Combats and Batty Riders? Behind it all though, was a slow heavy bass line that became known as 80's Groove. By 1986, Black Music was ready to take over the charts again.

Most of the tracks on this album are US releases from 1985 and most went on to become anthems. There was something for everybody on this and the only track I personally, didn't rate highly at the time is Lovebug Starski. My opinion hasn't changed much.

Portrait Records was a reasonably good Pop label, releasing some fair 12"s, Say Yeah by The Limit being a perfect example, but I have many of those featured on here and they didn't come out on Portrait except New York Eyes as I recall. I guess it was a CBS showcase then?

Living In America was a huge tune marking the return of 'The hardest working man in show business...' James Brown. He hadn't really been away as such cos every record company with his name in their catalogue was re-releasing it. In 1984 he teamed up with Afrika Bambaataa for Unity and his name was legend. His product was being cut up by every DJ in the world at this time. Even I used to try using the Sex Machine intro as a sample, especially the "1, 2, 3... " It was a phenomenon and hard to describe now without it sounding like an exaggeration. James Brown became an institution and Living In America was his way of saying...
I'm more than a legend, I'm alive!
'The Boss' was making his presence felt on the Top Twenty again.

Full Force were, for a short time, the name on everybody's lips. B-Fine, Shy Shy, Paul Anthony, Bowlegged Lou, 'Curt-T-T'& Baby Gerry came together in Brooklyn during 1984. By autumn of 1985 Alice (I Want You Just For Me) had been played to death everywhere whilst I Wonder (If I Take You Home) was last seasons 'most played'. Unfortunately, 1986 was the crest of the wave, Full Force overkill, they would never have another hit with their name on it.

Roy Ayers Hot was the reason I bought this album. Infectious rhythm, excellent vibraphone solo and James Mtume production. What more can you ask for.... Oh, I know, a showcase in a Michael Jackson video, thanks!

James 'Jimmy Jam' Harris III and Terry Lewis comprised the production team known as Flyte Tyme and they ruled in the 80's. Cherrelle was launched on Tabu Records and although her voice wasn't the best on the scene, she had something. Jam & Lewis was part of the something she had and just in case there was any doubt, they teamed her up with their new male talent, Alexander O'Neal. Saturday Love was a club hit of epic proportion. The inclusion of an accapella on the 12" ensured that it got mixed with all sorts on pirate radio. The version included here is the album cut which is cool because it's not on the 12". O'Neal's own offering is also included here, If You Were Here Tonight has gone on to become a slow jam stalwart, featuring on more Quiet Storm collections than you could shake a stick at. There's one more Jam & Lewis contribution in the shape of The Finest by The S.O.S. Band. I believe this is the 12" Long Version and is also an anthem.

Juicy contribute their finest moment on the dancefloor with Sugar Free (The Super Deo Dance Mix) although it does fade early. They were an Eumir Deodato project, hence the Super Deo title. Deodato was a 70's legend and moved into production in the 80's. There's nearly six minutes here and you don't feel like you are missing anything. A little knowledge can be bad for you?

Last on the list, but certainly not least, we have New York Eyes by Nicole featuring Timmy Thomas. Nicole had a succesion of releases mostly US, some with Clivilles & Cole but this is the only one she is truly memorable for. Timmy Thomas is something of a legend himself, he is also world reknowned for one song. In 1972 he released Why Can't We Live Together and it blew up worldwide. Here, he produces and duets superbly with Nicole and you can't but help wonder why they never had more product of this calibre?

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  • James Brown - Living In America
  • Full Force - Alice
  • Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam - I Wonder
  • Lovebug Starski - House Rocker
  • Roy Ayers - Hot
  • Cherrelle - Saturday Love
  • Juicy - Sugar Free
  • Nicole - New York Eyes
  • Alexander O'Neal - If You Were Here Tonight
  • The S.O.S. Band - The Finest
The Download Link is here: Download
Filename: A Bad Album.rar Filesize: 114.53 MB

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2 comments:

  1. Well, another delicious upload. Thank you,

    80spornstar

    ReplyDelete

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