Thursday, 11 March 2010

Rockie Robbins - You And Me - 1980 / 2009 - Vinyl Masterpiece

Vinyl Masterpiece is doing a grand job in reviving classic albums from the 1970s and 1980s and their releasing of two of Rockie Robbins' A&M releases in addition to the Japanese release of the 1979 self-titled set now gives us a great troika of releases for our enjoyment. Whereas "I Believe In Love" sounded totally faultless and crystal clear and very much from the master tapes my trained ear can tell that this has, sadly, been lifted from vinyl. This displeases me a great deal BUT the quality is still very good and a lot better than paying a great deal of money from a collector's list for a scratchy, hissy and well-worn vinyl record. If only more companies were able to take their material and remaster them from the master tapes as Funky Town Grooves now do...I'd be a happier man. What remains though, is a cracking album from 1980 that screams to be re-appraised and enjoyed again, 30 years after release. The music has fared sooooo much better than Rockie's choice of shirt! The gorgeously summery and soulful title track is one that paved the way for the style of "I Believe In Love" and as such is very much an essential song for me. Sumptuous, relaxed and a perfect setting for Rockie's vastly underrated vocals to shine like a supernova.

The horn and string filled ballad After Loving You" is a winner too from the outset, and the way that Rockie allows his sensitive voice to float and soar...simply breathtaking. As is the Marvin Gaye-ish midtempo string drenched "Girl I'm Gonna Getcha". Even today my ears struggle with the slightly messy arrangement of "Together" - it has a complicated melody and the forceful horns and rhythm guitar - along with some wispish and sexy female vocals - make this an interesting and addictive track. One real highlight is the SUPERB Leon Ware penned "Point Of View" classy and totally in keeping with his then contemporary Fabulous label release "Inside Is Love". CLASS and worth a purchase for this song alone!!! Lovers of uptempo numbers will appreciate the warm and floating "I Never Knew". This is great stuff and I so miss the fact that the major labels will NEVER make music like this again. A crying shame. Thankfully labels such as Vinyl Masterpiece refuse to let albums like this fade away...they need supporting and applauding for their work in keeping classy black music heritage in the public eye. Say no more.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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