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.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Various Artists - Smooth Grooves: A Sensual Collection, Volume 1 (1995)

A collection of old school slow jams released in the mid-'90s by the always wonderful Rhino Records. Songs on this volume are from the years 1975-1985. Purchased solely for the second track; it turns out to be a spectacular compilation, full of songs from my youth.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart:  Did not chart
Peak on Billboard's R&B albums chart: #52

Tracks:
  • Reasons (Live Version) - Earth, Wind & Fire: this live version doesn't stray far from the studio original, but they add a nice extended alto solo from Don Myrick.
  • Always And Forever - Heatwave: THE BEST SLOW JAM OF ALL TIME! Here we're treated to the full 6+ minute version instead of the truncated 4.5 minute edit. Music by Rod Temperton (who would go on to write some hit songs on a little album called Thriller) and exquisite vocals by Johnnie Wilder, Jr. Did I mention that this ballad is THE BEST SLOW JAM OF ALL TIME?
  • Forever Mine - The O'Jays: classic Gamble and Huff Philly soul. I don't remember this song from 1979, but glad I came across it here.
  • One In A Million You - Larry Graham: I loved this song back in the summer of 1980 and it's great to hear it again. Graham was the bass player for Sly And The Family Stone and has a great voice that has similarities to Barry White.
  • Shining Star - Manhattans: not as good as Kiss And Say Goodbye, but a big hit for them. This song reminds me of going to swim meets in the summer of 1980.
  • How 'Bout Us - Champaign: Wow, this is a great compilation. This a great song, too bad the band never really followed it up with anything worth mentioning. The harmony vocals by Rena Jones get me every time.
  • Love's Train - Con Funk Shun: I read that this is a fan favorite, but it sounds fairly average to me. Maybe that's because it is surrounded on this disc by much better tunes.
  • Love T.K.O. - Teddy Pendergrass: A slow jam classic that surprisingly never cracked the Top 40 when it was released in 1980. Since then, however, this song has been covered and sampled many, many times.
  • A Love Of Your Own - Average White Band: The weakest cut on the disc, this thing never goes anywhere.
  • If You Only Knew - Patti LaBelle: Here's another one I don't recall hearing before, but am glad to have discovered it here. Great Fender Rhodes part.
  • Out On A Limb (12" Single Version) - Teena Marie: What a voice. Teena Marie was always underrated in my book. She could teach Brittney and Christina a few things, fo sho. Plus, she wrote most of her own material. Teena Marie died in December, 2010. What a loss.
  • Silly - Deniece Williams: a nice waltz to close the album. When this song was released in 1981, I thought it was sung by Diana Ross. I wasn't really aware of Williams until Let's Hear It For The Boy from the Footloose soundtrack.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: When I was 13 years old and trying desperately to figure out how to woo women, I would imagine myself singing One In A Million You to a girl in attempts to gain favor. I never tried it for reals, but I think it might have worked except for the fact that, at the time, I couldn't sing as low as Larry Graham. It's funny that I chose One In A Million You over Always And Forever since the latter is THE BEST SLOW JAM OF ALL TIME.

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