Monday, 26 April 2010

Smoke City - I Really Want You - 2010 / 1985 - Epic / Funky Town Grooves

NEVER did I expect to see this album released on CD here, in Japan or in the very soul-less USA. A much sought-after album, Funky Town Grooves, courtesy of Sony Music US, have released this collectible gem on CD - and, yes, remastered from the original master tapes! I, for one, want it no other way. To be honest - speaking personally and by no means authoritatively - this is not the greatest album that you are going to hold in your collection. However, the two tracks that I slaver over are so magnificent in my humble opinion that it ranks as one of THE reissue albums on the market at present that rates as an essential purchase. And, let's face it, we are spoilt for choice at the moment. Thank God! There are other worthwhile songs, and I'll come onto those but please let me indulge in my two favourites first. The ballad "Dreams" is one that is known and cherished by many of us who used to seriously love to listen to Richard Searling's much respected 'Soul Sauce' show when it was on Red Rose Radio in the late 1980s. It was here that I first heard this beautiful duet between vocalists Starr and Daveon Overton. Overton, incidentally became a member of Motown trio Mind, Heart And Soul in the mid 1990s. His unique vocals work wonderfully with the dramatic and powerful vocals of Starr. This has a sound that to me is a perfect blend of styles - think Patrick Moten meets Leo Graham meets Michael J. Powell. What a combination!!!

"In A World Of Fantasy" is my second choice - this reminds me of the sterling work of Al Hudson and the One Way gang on the 'Believe In Me' album, and although released in 1985 this has a sound and feel of a few years earlier - say 1982 or 1983. Again Starr and Overton do the group justice on this dynamic duet. For me, these two songs alone render the album essential. There is another cut, the one that opens the set - "I Really Want You" - that is also worth a mention. Again, without the programmed, mechanical 1985 feel, this uptempo number owes more to the early part of the decade. It's a great little number and so much better than the rest of the set which I personally consider very weak indeed. The band had but one album for Epic in 1985 and would not rise again until the summer of 1989 and their Twelve Inch single release on Ampi records, "Love Affair" - a track that would have been a great extra on here. Now very scarce that is definitely a track to seek out. So, yet another masterstroke from Funky Town Grooves. More, please, lads!

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

Buy on Amazon