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.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Quincy Jones - The Dude (1981)

First, let's get this out of the way: I think Quincy Jones is a musical genius. Performer, writer, arranger, producer - he does it all and he does it well. Even so, I didn't own this album as a teenager. Now I can't think of any reason why I didn't have it. Jones was starting his own Qwest label in the early '80s, but he owed A&M one more record. You would think that he might just haphazardly throw something together, but he put together a top-notch group of session musicians (Ernie Watts, Jerry Hey, Greg Phillinganes, Steve Lukather, Paulinho DaCosta), chose music written by hit songwriters (Rod Temperton, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weill, Stevie Wonder, Ivan Lins), got some famous friends to perform (Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, Toots Thielemans), and used two top notch vocalists (Patti Austin and James Ingram) to put together a great pop album. You can easily see where Q was heading as he moved from this album to producing Michael Jackson's Thriller. He knew exactly who should be doing what. I usually don't talk about books on this blog, but Q's 2002 autobiography is certainly worth checking out of your local library.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #10
Peak on Billboard's Jazz LPs chart: #3
Peak on Billboard's R&B albums chart: #3   
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #14

Tracks: The two hit singles, Just Once and One Hundred Ways, still sound good 30 years on. Other highlights are Ai No Corrida, Somethin' Special, Razzamatazz, and Turn On The Action. The album might have been better if they had used a song other than The Dude. I like the Ivan Lins instrumental, Velas, featuring Toots Thielemans, but it seems out of place on this album.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: Mostly this reminds of my freshman year in high school (isn't that the most awkward year in a person's life? Don't get me started.). The song Just Once reminds me of the slap-you-in-the-face ending of the 1982 movie, The Last American Virgin. The rest of the music reminds me of other music produced by Q around that time (The Brothers Johnson's Stomp, Michael Jackson's Off The Wall, and George Benson's Give Me The Night).

Previously revisited for the blog:
Explores the Music of Henry Mancini (1968)

1 comment:

  1. I bought this one specifically for "Ai No Corrida" - for a couple of weeks after first hearing it on the radio, I would ask the guy at the record store for the new Earth, Wind & Fire track and he'd play "And Love Goes On" and I'd leave disappointed. Then I heard the song on American Top 40 - thanks, Casey Kasem - and soon The Dude was mine. [The album not Casey Kasem.]

    Don't you think "Ai No Corrida" sounds EWF-ish?

    "Just Once" and "One Hundred Ways" were gravy tracks and when they became popular later in 1981, I got to brag I already had the album and knew the songs were gonna be big - only the first part was true.

    Of course, the extensive use of "Just Once" on The Last American Virgin soundtrack (it was played like two dozen times wasn't it?) means I'll forever think of that unibrow chick that broke our heart... I mean HIS heart.