Friday, 9 October 2015

"Love Wars/Radio M.U.S.C. Man" by WOMACK & WOMACK (2015 Robinsongs Expanded 2CD Remaster) - A Review for Mark Barry...

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"...Good Times..."

A smart CD reissue by Robinsongs of the UK (part of Cherry Red) – two popular Soul/Funk albums by Cecil & Linda Womack from 1983 and 1985 on two Remastered CDs with a duo of bonus versions for the big hit "Love Wars" added on as Bonus Tracks. Here are the Womack friendly details...

UK and USA released August 2015 – "Love Wars/Radio M.U.S.C. Man" by WOMACK & WOMACK on Robinsongs WROBIN1CDD (Barcode 5013929950122) offers 2LPs with 2 Bonus Versions onto 2CDs and plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (56:29 minutes):
1. Love Wars
2. Express Yourself
3. Baby I'm Scared Of You
4. T.K.O.
5. A.P.B. [Side 2]
6. Catch And Don't Look Back
7. Woman
8. Angie
9. Good Times
Tracks 1 to 9 are the album "Love Wars" – released December 1983 in the USA and UK on LP and CD Elektra Records 960 293-1 and 960 293-2. It peaked at 34 in March 1984 on the American R&B charts.

10. Love Wars (Extended Vocal)
11. Love Wars (Instrumental Dub)
Tracks 10 and 11 are the A&B-sides of a December 1983 US 12" Single on Elektra 0-66987. Track 10 was issued as UK 12" single in April 1984 on Elektra E 9799 (T) with the album track "Good Times" as its B-side.

Disc 2 (42:53 minutes):
1. No Relief
2. Maze
3. Night Rider
4. Eyes
5. Radio M.U.S.C. Man [Side 2]
6. Love's Calling
7. Strange And Funny
8. Romeo & Juliet (Where You Are?)
9. Here Comes The Sun
Tracks 1 to 9 are the album "Radio M.U.S.C Man" – released July 1985 in the USA on Elektra Records 60406-1 (LP) and 9 60406-2 (CD). Released June 1985 in the UK on Elektra EKT 6 (LP) and 960 406-2 (CD). Peaked on the US R&B album charts at 51.

The 12-page booklet features detailed liner notes from LOIS WILSON of Mojo Magazine while the ALAN WILSON Remasters were carried out at Western Star Studios. Originally Produced by STEWART LEVINE (Simply Red, The Crusaders and many others) – both albums have huge polish and feature long who’s who of famous session players – Abraham Laboriel and Nathan East on Bass, Neal Larsen and Bobby Lyle on Keyboards, Lennie Castro and Paulinho Da Costa on Percussion while Cecil Womack played Guitars (brother of Bobby Womack) and Linda shared Keyboards and duet vocals (daughter of the legendary Sam Cooke). The Audio on these CDs is sweet and full – tracks like their rather lovely version of "Angie" shine and don't have too much of that awful 80s over-production (on the first album at least).

Their debut album "Love Wars" album has great Womack & Womack originals – "Love Wars", "Baby I'm Scared Of You" (both singles) and "Woman" being amongst the standouts. Cover versions include "Angie" (Rolling Stones) and "Good Times" (Bobby Womack) - while they co-wrote "Love T.K.O" with ace Keyboardist Eddie "Gip" Nobel for Teddy Pendergrass when they were part of the Philadelphia International songwriting teams (Pendergrass had a huge hit with it in1980 – their version is called "T.K.O."). One of the albums hidden nuggets is "Express Myself" – a funky sweetheart of a tune where they found a great groove, message and smash it with gorgeous duet vocals. "Catch And Don't Look Back" is the kind of catchy 80s Soul Funk that hooks you – gives it some slap bass – harmony vocals and 'do's and don'ts' lyrics – and you're quickly won over. And a big prize for collectors and Funk lovers will be the rare B-side "Instrumental" of "Love Wars" which takes that wicked groove and only uses occasional vocal choruses (included her as one of the two Bonus Mixes). At just short of seven minutes – it makes for a very sexy listen indeed.

Their 2nd platter suffers to some degree with that 'drum sound' thing so many mid-80s productions had – that dull thud and whack of a Soulless machine. It kind of undoes good Funk grooves like "Maze" but is actually a good part of the smooth "Night Rider" which we thought was so cool at the time. "Eyes" has a sweet smooch too – loverman in his palace or lurve. There's an ill-advised wishy-washy cover of "Here Comes The Sun" by The Beatles – but far, far better is the Lionel Richie groove of "Strange And Funny" – probably the best melody on the album.

The first album is a bit of an unsung hero frankly – but platter number two is undone by the times and the need for 'that sound'. Still with the great remasters and those cool bonus tracks and a good price thrown in for a double – it’s recommended - and as a must buy for fans...

This review and hundreds more like it are available in my SOUNDS GOOD Music Books Series available to download (over 2000 e-Pages worth) in my SOUL, FUNK and JAZZ FUSION Book at the following link...

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