Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Eloise Laws - Eloiise - 1977 - Funkytown Grooves USA

Although this is a welcome release on CD, this 1977 effort for ABC, I sincerely hope that her far more essential 1980s efforts for Liberty will see CD reissue giving us more of this wonderful Lady's work with Thom Bell and Linda Creed. I am sure Funkytown Grooves USA will oblige us in this with their much-welcome affiliation with EMI in the US which is soon to bring us the wonderful 1981 effort from Blue Magic. There is so much untapped music that begs reissue and the ability of labels like this to make this happen is something I find genuinely and truly exciting. Back to this 1977 outing then, and we have production from none other than Jerry Goldstein and the late, great and still-sorely-missed Linda Creed. Containing some real lovely moments, "Eloise" begs you to purchase this at the earliest opportunity. With original songs, as well as readings of earlier performances, the set is warm and still sounds very good indeed.

The ever-popular "Baby You Lied" still sounds as fresh as a daisy and brother Ronnie laws on sax duty adds more mystique to this. the warm keys and harmonies really square the circle and the string section - arranged by the legendary Gene Page is sublime. Her version of Dionne Warwick's "His House And Me" is also a standout BUT lacks the original genius production of Thom Bell and as such doesn't, for me at any rate, better the 1975 original. Her version of the Stylistics "Love Comes Easy" also doesn't beat the original but easily stands alongside it with some powerful strings courtesy of Gene Page. Her 1999 re-recording is also well worth a purchase. That album, "The Key" is still readily available so don't overlook that set also. The string-laden uptempo "1000 Laughs", reminiscent of an Mtume / Stephanie Mills workout is well worth a spin and the gentle floating "Someone Who Still Needs Me" is an exercise in musicianship and clarity of vocal skill that all of today's manufactured X-Factor sausages should really sit and listen to. they and the (mostly) goddamn-awful judges may learn something. The strings really work well on this album as you may expect and the Phyllis Hyman-ish melancholic "Love Is A Feeling" benefits greatly from this. This CD also benefits us with two bonus songs which are the extended 12" versions of "Number One" and "1000 Laughs". Quality, quality, quality.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe