Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Manhattan Transfer - Bodies and Souls (1983)


Note: this release was originally purchased as an LP, later replaced by a CD.

I don't listen to this group much anymore, but I was a big fan in the early and mid '80s. This release is very inconsistent. A few tracks sound like something you'd hear on any Al Jarreau or Quincy Jones release around that time. All the usual musicians for those type of releases are present: Rod Temperton, Jeremy Lubbock, Jeff Pocaro, Jerry Hey, etc. The group was probably chasing some sort of chart success at the time. The disc ends with more of a jazz flavor, with some ballads and vocaleses.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #52
Peak on Billboard's Jazz LPs chart: #10
Peak on Billboard's R&B albums chart: #38   
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #187
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #45

Tracks: The two Temperton tunes, Spice of Life and Mystery, are good for what they are, but they could have been performed by anybody. If fact, Anita Baker would later record a superior version of Mystery on her Rapture album. Spice of Life gets bonus points for having a Stevie Wonder harmonica solo. Weakest cuts are Code of Ethics, Soldier of Fortune, and Malaise en Malaisie. What was originally side two (the "Souls" side) of the album is much stronger, finishing with Down South Camp Meetin', Why Not! (Manhattan Carnival), Goodbye Love, and The Night That Monk Returned to Heaven.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: I saw the group perform in support of this album with Eleanor and Scott a few days before we started our senior year in high school. Also, my freshman year at college, the marching band performed a decent arrangement of Why Not! So, to recap my geekiness, I went to a Manhattan Transfer concert when I was 17 and I was in marching band in college. Don't judge me.

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