Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Janice McClain - Janice McClain - 2009 / 1986 - MCA

Funky Town Grooves have struck gold with their liaison with Universal in the States, and have at their disposal the right to legally license many a great title from the Universal umbrella. The joy of having Gene Van Buren properly mastered was simply a dream, and something I never expected to see, and I cannot wait to see what other gems await us. Another recent release is this album from Janice McClain - self titled - from 1986. Not a newcomer by this time at any stretch of the imagination, Janice easily found herself at home on the massive MCA stable under the helm of the wonderful Jheryl Busby and Louil Silas, Jr. I seriously and truly mourn the passing of these two industry players, and as far as I am concerned black music in America is a much lesser idiom without the likes of these dear souls. This was an album I never bothered with purchasing back on it's release for a myriad of reasons...available funds (or, rather, lack of them), far too many other releases...and mainly I wasn't too fussed about the album bar one track, and that being the MONSTER jam, "Passion And Pain". When Elevate included this on their superb Wind Down Zone I thought that I was set. However, having listened to the alum again, and a sympathetic passing of 24 years, I am very pleased that Tony and the gang have reissued this properly on CD.

Almost a quarter of a century on, "Passion And Paid" remains untarnished, flawless and eloquently timeless. This song, like many others at this time, were of such a high quality. Melody and vocally driven with aforethought to longevity, feeling and continuity tracks such as these are going to remain essential as long as there are ears refined enough to appreciate quality. This CD is essential, therefore, for this song alone. However, as I said, the rest of the set has grown on me quite a lot and at a time where new US RnB is hardly worth even considering, it's never been better to revisit past masters. How could I have passed over midtempo numbers such as "When Love Calls" with Nick Martinelli's classic style stamped all over it. I think at this time we were spoilt for choice with all the new and consistent releases. OK, so I forgive myself! "The Rhythm Of Our Love", a Richard Rudolph and Michael Sembello number, is also well worth revisiting and more commercial than any other song - and as far as 80s sounds go I don't find that unappealing at all. There, as we expect, bonus cuts - a dub version of "Passion And Pain", as well as an uptempo number called "We're Not Too Young" - a nice track to own. This CD comes highly recommended.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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