Sunday, 13 March 2011

"Candles" by HEATWAVE. A Review Of Their 4th Soul/Funk LP – Now Remastered And Expanded On CD By Big Break Records In 2010.

This review is part of my "SOUNDS GOOD: Exceptional CD Remasters Soul, Funk & Jazz Fusion" Download Book available to buy on Amazon to either your PC or Mac (it will download the Kindle software to read the book for free to your toolbar). Click on the link below to go my Author's Page for this and other related publications:


"…We’re The Syndicate Of Soul…Gonna Take Control…"

Like many Soul and Funk fans, I’ve been noticing Big Break Records (BBR) and their steady stream of interesting reissues turn up in the racks of better record shops in the West End of London (Sister Ray, Sounds Of The Universe and Reckless).

"Candles" was the kind of early 80's album that boasted 2 or 3 'great' tracks and the rest was 'filler – like so many records of the time.
But what lifts this reissue above the ordinary is the wad of bonus tracks attached – and especially the truly fabulous remastered sound. Here’s the details…

Released December 2010 in the UK, Big Break Records CDBBR 0024 breaks down as follows (79:34 minutes):

Tracks 1 to 9 are the album “Candles” first released in December 1980 in the USA on Epic FE 36873 (charted at number 24) and then February 1981 in the UK on GTO Records GTOLP 0047 (charted at number 29).

Track 10 is “Gangsters Of The Groove (Single Version)” [4:02 minutes, Edit]
Track 11 is “Jitterbuggin’ (UK Single Version)” [4:00 minutes, Edit]
Track 12 is “Where Did I Go Wrong (US Single Version)” [3:47 minutes, Edit]
Track 13 is “Posin’ ‘Til Closin’ (UK Single Version)” [3:40 minutes, Edit]
Track 14 is “Turn Around (US Single Version)” [3:59 minutes, Edit]
Track 15 is “Find Someone Like You”, non-album B-side to “Gangster Of The Groove” 7” single credited on the record as “Someone Like You” [3:58 minutes]
Track 16 is “Wack That Axe”, non-album B-side to the UK 12” single of “Jitterbuggin’” [3:45 minutes]
Track 17 is “Gangsters Of The Groove (UK 12” Remix)” [5:48 minutes – album version is 4:22 minutes]
Track 18 is “Posin' Til Closin'" (UK 12” Version)” [5:10 minutes – album version is 5:00 minutes]

In one of those new rounded-corner jewel cases, the booklet has 12-pages of colour photos, album sleeves, GTO and Epic singles and informational liner notes by HAYDEN JONES. The albums credits also include the bonus tracks – it’s very well done. But the big news is the sound…

The original tapes have been digitally remastered by ALAN WILSON at Western Star Studios and he’s done a truly stunning job. Every instrument is full on – and not in a loudness-for-loudness sake kind of way – the remaster is clear, muscular & an absolute blast to listen to.

The record’s big secret was soul/funk songwriter ROD TEMPERTON – he penned 5 of the album’s 9 tracks and more famously went on to write “Rock With You”, “Off The Wall”, “Baby Be Mine”, “The Lady In My Life” and “Thriller” for Michael Jackson. Temperton had been with them in the beginning in 1977, but by this time had long since left, but was still sufficiently involved with the group to arrange and contribute much of this album.

His signature winner “Gangster Of The Groove” opens the proceedings very nicely – it’s soul/disco/funk genius – an irresistible floor-filler even to this day. The problem with the album is that it never reaches that dizzy height again. “Posin’ Til Closin’” and “Turn Around” are good funky tunes and “Dreamin’ You” features that superb bass playing of Derek Bramble, but the soppy Lynsey De Paul cover “All I Am” is hard to listen to now. The finishers “Goin’ Crazy” and “Where Did I Go Wrong” are good too, but never really great. The 12”-only B-side "Wack That Axe" however is a superb bonus track.

The liner notes dedicate the release to band-member and co-producer Johnnie Wilder, Jnr. who died in 2006 – his brother Keith fronts a form of the band to this day. It has to be said that BBR have done his memory proud.

To sum up - "Candles" by Heatwave is a 3-star album given a 5-star treatment by Big Break Records (BBR) - and if you have any affection for it, then you need this superb remaster in your life.

The quality way this CD has been presented is going to make me investigate more of their releases. And at just under seven quid from many online retailers, it’s cheap too.


PS: here’s a list of other interesting BBR releases – all are remastered with bonus tracks:

PS: here’s a list of other interesting BBR releases to April 2011 – all are remastered with bonus tracks:

1. Street Opera – ASHFORD & SIMPSON (1982, 1st LP on Capitol)
2. Brooklyn Dreams – BROOKLYN DREAMS (1977 – features Donna Summer)
3. Sleepless Nights – BROOKLYN DREAMS (1979 – features Donna Summer)
4. Winners – THE BROTHERS JOHNSON (1981)
5. Love Approach – TOM BROWNE (1980 – features “Funkin’ For Jamaica”)
6. Faces – EARTH, WIND & FIRE (1980 2LP set on 1CD with bonuses)
7. Don’t Look Any Further – DENNIS EDWARDS (1984 – Dennis Lambert production)
8. Pennye – PENNYE FORD (1984)
9. Never Can Say Goodbye – GLORIA GAYNOR (1975)
10. Experience Gloria Gaynor – GLORIA GAYNOR (1975)
11. Hot Property – HEATWAVE (1979)
12. Current – HEATWAVE (1982)
13. Smooth Talk - EVELYN "CHAMPAGNE" KING (1977 debut)
14. I’m In Love - EVELYN "CHAMPAGNE" KING (1981)
15. Get Loose – EVELYN "CHAMPAGNE" KING (1982)
16. About Love – GLADYS KNIGHT & THE PIPS (1980)
17. Open Sesame – KOOL & THE GANG (1976)
18. Patti LaBelle – PATTI LaBELLE (1977 debut solo LP)
19. It’s Alright With Me – PATTI LaBELLE (1979)
20. Not A Little Girl Anymore – LINDA LEWIS (1975 on Arista)
21. Loose Change – LOOSE CHANGE (1979 on Casablanca)
22. I Am Now – JON LUCIEN (1970 debut LP on RCA)
23. Rashida – JON LUCIEN (1973 2nd LP on RCA)
24. I Miss You [aka Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes] – HAROLD MELVIN & THE BLUE NOTES (1972 USA debut on Philadelphia International)
25. Black & Blue – HAROLD MELVIN & THE BLUE NOTES (1973, 2nd LP for Philadelphia International – features Gamble & Huff and Teddy Pendergrass)
26. Melba – MELBA MOORE (1978 – features McFadden & Whitehead)
27. TJM – TOM MOULTON (1979 on Casablanca)
28. Nights (Feel Like Getting Down) – BILLY OCEAN (1981)
29. Inner Feelings – BILLY OCEAN (1982)
30. Odyssey – ODYSSEY (1977)
31. California Sunset – THE ORIGINALS (1975 Motown – Lamont Dozier production)
32. Special Things – THE POINTER SISTERS (1980)
33. So Excited – THE POINTER SISTERS (1982, features members of Toto)
34. Contact – THE POINTER SISTERS (1985, 1st LP on RCA)
35. Baby Sister – JUNE POINTER (of The Pointer Sisters) (1983 debut)
36. Sweet Beginnings – MARLENA SHAW (1977)
37. Acting Up – MARLENA SHAW (1978)
38. Clean – EDWIN STARR (1978, 2nd LP on 20th Century)
39. A Taste Of Honey – A TASTE OF HONEY (1978 debut)
40. Another Taste – A TASTE OF HONEY (1979 2nd LP – both debut and this feature Larry and Fonce Mizell)
41. New Directions – TAVARES (1982 Debut)
42. The Three Degrees – THE THREE DEGREES (1974, 1st LP for Philadelphia International - features MFSB)]
43. International – THE THREE DEGREES (1975, 2nd LP for Philadelphia International)
44. New Dimensions – THE THREE DEGREES (1979, 1st LP for Ariola)
45. 3D – THE THREE DEGREES (1979, 2nd LP for Ariola)
46. Song Bird – DENIECE WILLIAMS (1977 – 2nd LP features Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire)
47. When Love Comes Calling – DENIECE WILLIAMS (1979 – 3rd LP)
48. My Melody – DENIECE WILLIAMS (1981 – Thom Bell Production)
49. Be A Winner – YARBROUGH & PEOPLES (1984 on RCA)

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

INDEX - Artists, Albums, Record Labels, CD Remaster Engineers, Liner Notes Authors, Links etc