"…Make The Darkness Go Away…" Secret Combination and Windsong by RANDY CRAWFORD
For years Randy Crawford’s long run of quality albums on Warner Brothers have languished unloved by digital reissue companies. Well here comes Edsel of the UK doing the job with real class and style. This is the third instalment of four 2CD sets covering her entire output with the monster label – and containing a slew of global hits - it’s probably the best of the bunch.
Released October 2013 - Edsel EDSK 7043 (Barcode: 740155704339) breaks down as follows…
Disc 1 (45:17 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 10 are her 5th album "Secret Combination" – released May 1981 on Warner Brothers BSK 3514 in the USA and K 56904 in the UK (it reached No.12 on the US R&B Chart and No.2 on the UK Album chart).
Track 11 is a BONUS TRACK – "Street Life (Live)"
Disc 2 (43:58 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 11 are her 6th album "Windsong" – released June 1982 on Warner Brothers 1-23687 in the USA and K 57011 in the UK (it reached No. 23 in the US R&B charts and No. 7 in the UK album chart).
Track 12 is a BONUS TRACK – "Your Precious Love" – a cover of Jerry Butler & The Impressions’ 1958 hit - it's done as a duet with AL JARREAU
The outer card wrap gives the whole reissue a quality feel – as does the 20-page booklet which pictures the albums, publicity photos, track by track recording info and exceptionally detailed, affectionate and witty liner notes by Soul Expert and long-time Edsel Associate TONY ROUNCE. It’s a pleasure to read.
The remasters by PHIL KINRADE at Alchemy are fabulous – warm and clear - but then the original production values of Tommy LiPuma on both albums were top notch anyway. And both records also used high-class session players like Jeff Porcaro, Steve Lukather, Dean Parks, Lenny Castro, Abraham Loboriel, Chuck Findley, Robben Ford and Larry Williams. There’s even Michael Sembello and Buzz Feiton on Guitars with David Sanborn on Sax.
After building up steam with “Street Life” in 1979 and the “Now We May Begin” albums in 1980 (both featuring The Crusaders) – “Secret Combination” was the LP that made her a global star. Featuring huge hits like “You Might Need Somebody” and her sexy cover of Tony Joe White’s “Rainy Night In Georgia” – it was exactly what the doctor ordered. But for me - the real unsung hero of the record is songwriter Tom Snow who co-wrote “You Might Just Need Somebody” and also penned the gorgeous finisher on Side 1 “You Bring The Sun Out” – itself a co-write with Jesse Dixon. It’s as lovely a tune as Randy Crawford’s ever recorded (lyrics from it title this review).
“Windsong” opens with the beautifully produced “Look Who’s Lonely Now” – a chipper song about relationship misery. “Letter Full Of Tears” and “Windsong” are Don Covay and Leon Russell covers – but best is her upbeat take on the Stevie Wonder/Syreeta Wright song “We Had A love So Strong” which has a lovely Steely Dan guitar solo in it.
Bum note – neither of her truly lovely live versions of John Lennon’s "Imagine" and "Give Peace A Chance" which were non-album single tracks in 1982 were available to license – so are notable no-shows. What a shame. It doesn't say where the live version of "Street Life" was recorded but the production values are superb - and the clapping crowd - loving it. It's a tasty addition and better than the rather insipid cover of "Your Precious Love".
Soulfulness - these now forgotten albums deserve reappraisal. A sweet lady – take a punt on this classy reissue…