Positive Force feat. Denise Vallin (1981)

“Monster R&B soul rarity, private press LP. This is Holy Grail type stuff here, only a handful produced.” Popsike

Not to be confused with the Positive Force of ‘We Got The Funk’ fame, but they do pedal a very pleasant style of Soul Funk that is well executed and catchy as a harpoon aimed at a barrel of fish. They remind me, a little bit, of Seawind with their funk music and Denise’s Pauline Wilsonesque vocals.

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Producer: Steve Russell

Musicians:

  • Steve Russell: Guitar
  • Larry Kester: Keyboards
  • Bill Liston: Saxophone & Flute
  • Denise Vallin: Vocals

Tracklist:

  1. Everything You Do
  2. Give Me A Sign
  3. I Think Of You
  4. Now Is Not The Time
  5. Put It In The Groove
  6. Take Some Time Out
  7. The One I Love
  8. Too Much Love
  9. Too Much Love (edit)
  10. You Told Me You Loved Me
  11. You Gotta Know

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Passage (1981)

This is a solo project by Louis Johnson of The Brothers Johnson, supported by Richard Heath (Michael Jackson, Harvey Mason, The Brothers Johnson) and Valerie Johnson (Louis’ ex-wife) and very nice it is too. But then you knew I wouldn’t post any old shite, right?

It’s as smooth as The Brothers at their silkiest, but more overtly CCM. This isn’t usually to my taste but on this occasion I make an exception because the playing and the songs are excellent and the lyrics aren’t too preachy. Louis plays keyboards, guitar and bass, but is ably assisted by some great playing. My fave track is probably “I See The Light” with its funky bass intro.

You decide and let me know what you think.

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Producer: Louis Johnson

 

Musicians:
Drums: Ricky Lawson, John Robinson
Guitars: Greg Moore, Louis Johnson, Curtis Nolen, Al Perkins
Bass: Louis Johnson
Keyboards: David Wolinsky, Louis Johnson, Raymond Crossley, Rene Moore
Percussion: Richard Heath
Sax: Michael Perkins
All Lead and Background Vocals: Valerie Johnson, Louis Johnson, Richard Heath

 

Tracks:

1. Have You Heard The Word
2. You Can’t Be Livin’
3. Faith Walking People
4. I See The Light
5. The Great Flood
6. Open Up Your Heart
7. Power
8. Love Eyes
9. The Son Will Come Again

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Spats (1978)

Featured on Americana 2, the album compiled by Mark ‘Good Vibes’ Taylor, which was my introduction to this Soul/Funk platter. It’s a proper mix of musical styles, even encompassing some AOR in there as well. Nice!

 

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Producers: John Blanche and Stephen J. Nicholas

Musicians:
Bass: Johnny Castle
Drums: Mike Zack
Guitar: David Gabaldon
Keyboards: Ric Arenz
Lead Vocals: Michael Bradley
Percussion: Nelson Padron
Saxophone: Neil Bonsanti, Whit Sidener
Trumpet: Bill Purse, Kenny Falk
Vocals: David Gabaldon, Ric Arenz

Tracklist:
1. Hot Summer Madness
2. Soul Searchin’ Lady
3. (Your Lovin’ Is) Everywhere
4. Someday
5. Playin’ Time
6. Up To The Country
7. Livin’ Is What You Make It
8. Yours Forever
9. Street Love
10. Put Some Souf In Yo’ Mouf

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Patti Austin: Every Home Should Have One (1981)

As Quincy Jones’ female voice of choice on ‘The Dude’, which was also released in 1981, it’s little wonder that he ended up producing this album for her. It’s silky smooth soul/funk not dissimilar in places to Q’s album.

It features the usual cast of musicians to ensure her Ms Austin’s Westcoast credentials. Also, listen to ‘The Genie’ and tell me Michael Jackson isn’t singing backing vocals.

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Producer: Quincy Jones

Musicians:
Drums: Chris Parker, John Robinson
Bass: Anthony Jackson, Louis Johnson, Eddie Watkins
Guitars: Eric Gale, Steve Lukather
Piano: Richard Tee, Bob James
Keyboards: Bob James, Greg Phillinganes, Richard Tee
Synthesizer: Michael Boddicker, David Foster, Bob James, Hillary James, Rod Temperton
Percussion: Paulinho Da Costa, Ralph MacDonald
Sax: Ernie Watts
Background Vocals: James Ingram, Patti Austin

Tracklist:
1. Do You Love Me?
2. Love Me To Death
3. The Way I Feel
4. Every Home Should Have One
5. Baby, Come To Me
6. The Genie
7. Stop, Look, Listen
8. Symphony Of Love
9. Oh No, Margarita
10. The Island

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Debra Laws: Very Special (1981)

Really, really nice Soulful Westcoast album. In fact it’s difficult to categorise. ‘How Long’ is a blinding song, as is ‘Very Special’. Debra has a great voice, but all I can see is that she produced two albums in her time, which is shocking. Anyway, here it is…

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Producer: Hubert Laws & Ronnie Laws

Musicians:
Vocals: Debra Laws
Guitar: Roland Bautista
Bass: Nathan East
Drums: Leon Ndugu Chancler
Piano: Bobby Lyle
Synthesizer: Larry Dunn
Backing Vocals: Gwen Gwenchee Matthews & Marlena Jeter

Tracklist:
1. On My Own
2. Meant For You
3. Very Special
4. Be Yourself
5. Long As We’re Together
6. Your Love
7. How Long
8. All The Things I Love
9. Tell Me Why (bonus)

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