With 4 albums already under her belt at Prestige Records in the early to mid Seventies and all at the tender age of only 24 – PATRICE RUSHEN signed to Elektra Records in 1978 - and soon became the darling of the World’s dancefloors.
But this hugely talented Californian singer and multi-instrumentalist has seen her Funky catalogue languishing unloved by digital reissue companies for years - or been the province of massively expensive imports. Well along comes Edsel of the UK and they’ve done the total business by the five albums she did with Elektra between 1978 and 1984 - with this – the first of two Double-CD reissue sets.
UK released 30 September 2013 (October 2013 in the USA) - here are the butt-waddling details For Edsel EDSK 7030 (Barcode 740155703035)…
Disc 1 (79:00 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 10 are her 5th album “Patrice” – released October 1978 on Elektra Records 6E-160 in the USA and on Elektra K 52104 in the UK.
Tracks 11 and 12 are BONUSES – Hang It Up (12” Version – 7:26 minutes) and Play! (12” Version – 8:14 minutes) are the A&B-sides of a 1978 12” single on Elektra AS-11404 (USA) and K 12336 (UK)
Tracks 13 to 16 are Side 1 of her 6th album “Pizzazz” – released October 1979 on Elektra Records 6E-243 in the USA
Disc 2 (71:47 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 4 are Side 2 of “Pizzazz”
Tracks 5 to 12 are her 7th album “Posh” – released November 1980 on Elektra Records 6E-302 in the USA and Elektra K 52260 in the UK
Tracks 13 and 14 are BONUSES – Look Up! (Long Version) and Never Gonna Give You Up (Short Version). Track 13 was a 12” Version on Elektra AS-11469 (USA) and K 12506 T (UK) while the Short Version of Never Gonna Give You Up was only on the 1980 American 12” Promo (Elektra AS-11486)
The outer card wrap gives the whole reissue a quality feel – as does the chunky 32-page booklet which pictures the albums, original Elektra labels, publicity photos, lyrics, track by track recording info and exceptionally detailed liner notes by Soul Expert and long-time Edsel Associate TONY ROUNCE.
The original production values of Charles Mimms, Jr. on all three LPs was top notch anyway – uber high class and funky as a vicar’s sermon after too much wine. So it’s not surprising to find that the remastered sound by PHIL KINRADE at Alchemy is gorgeous throughout – full of presence and toe-tapping detail.
The incredible session-musicians roster also reads like a Mafia hit list of people you’d want on your platters - Abraham Laboriel on Bass and Guitars, Larry Williams on Tenor Sax, David T Walker on Guitar, James Gadson on Drums, Paulinho Da Costa on Percussion… But what’s more impressive is that this lady is a PRINCE – playing a huge array of instruments herself whilst writing, singing and co-producing the whole shebang as a musical genius should.
It opens with the hugely infectious "Music Of The Earth" then mellows with the lovely "When I Found You". It’s back to floor-filling boogie with "Changes (In My Life)" - but the remaster really shines on the gorgeous acoustic ballad "Wishful Thinking". And funk lovers will thrill to the stepper "It's Just A Natural Thing".
"Pizzazz" upped the ante (and hair-dos) and with winners like "Haven’t You Heard" (a US No. 7) and the irresistible crowd-pleaser "Let The Music Take Me" - it was a big album for her. But things went stratospheric with "Posh" featuring the monster "Never Gonna Give You Up" and the utterly wicked "Look Up!" - a fabulous dancefloor pleaser that’s regularly spun even now - 34 years after the event (lyrics from it title this review). I also love having the longer mixes of those monster hits – a very nice touch on the bonus track front.
To this day these three LPs are held in real affection by Soul and Funk lovers everywhere – and with damn good reason. You have to say that Edsel have done Patrice Rushen’s uplifting musical legacy proud. Way to go boys…
Edsel have also done Straight From The Heart (1982) and Now (1984) on another 2CD set (Edsel EDSK 7031) with a whopping 10 Bonus Tracks (mostly 12” Mixes and their hugely sought-after Instrumental versions).
Also make a further beeline to her stunningly funky "Shout It Out" album on Prestige from 1977 – it was reissued on CD by Soul Brothers of the UK in 2009 and sounds utterly amazing (features "The Hump" and "Let Your Heart Be Free").