Friday, 10 March 2017

"Love Storm" by TAVARES (2015 SoulMusic Records 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...


"Love Storm" was the 5th album brothers Ralph, Tony, Pooch, Chubby and Butch TAVARES put on Capitol Records in 1977 and containing the Number 1 US R’n’B hit “Whodunit”. The Chi-Lites/Philly-sounding album aped the winning formula of the “Sky High!” LP from the year previous with the monster hit “Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel” on it. This expanded CD remaster adds on a superb bonus 12” Remix of “Whodunit”. Here are American sibling harmonies…

UK released March 2015 – "Love Storm" by TAVARES is on SoulMusic Records SMCR 5127 (Barcode 5013929082731) and breaks down as follows (41:44 minutes):

1. Whodunit
2. Keep In Touch
3. I Wanna See You Soon (duet with FREDA PAYNE)
4. Fool For The Year
5. Watchin’ The Woman’s Movement
6. One Step away [Side 2]
7. Out Of The Picture
8. The Going Ups & The Coming Downs
9. Goodnight My Love
Tracks 1 to 9 are the album “Love Storm” – released April 1977 in the USA on Capitol STAO-11628 and May 1977 in the UK on capitol E-St 11628

10. Whodunit (1985 UK Extended Remix, Special 12” Version by Ben Liebrand)

SoulMusic Records is part of Cherry Red (of the UK) and along with Big Break Records have been carving out a tasty niche in Soul CD reissues in the last few years. The excellence of this mid-price CD only reflects that. The 16-page booklet has liner notes by KEVIN GOINS that include conversations with members of the band in and Freda Payne (conducted in 2012). There’s artwork front and rear, photos of the UK LP labels and even an array of foreign picture sleeves on Page 13 – it’s a nice job done.

But the big news for fans is an ALAN WILSON Remaster that has gorgeous audio clarity – detailed, no hiss and wonderful presence. Originally produced by FREDDIE PERREN (who got their sound on “Heaven”)- the audio quality here is all polish and with plenty of power. This CD sounds lovely.

Freddie Perren and Kent St. Lewis penned six of the songs (1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7) with “Fool Of The Year” being a co-write between Feliciano “Butch” Tavares and Freddie Perren leaving only the Jim Weatherly penned “The Goings Up & The Comings Down”. “Whodunit” hit the top spot in the US R’n’B charts (22 pop charts) and it’s easy to hear why – it’s a fun stepper. The other 45 released from the album is the finishing smoocher “Goodnight My Love” – all oohs and aahs and strings wooing his girl at the end of the day (it managed 14 on the R&B charts). The duet with Freda Payne is hardly a classic – far better is the ballad “Fool Of The Year” – an effortlessly classy vocal and strings mid-tempo - it was the B-side of “Whodunit” in most countries. The rest of the album is good rather than great.

Having said that Disco fans are going to love the bonus – - a properly great addition. The 12” remix of “Whodunit” looses that irritating intro - extending the album cut from 3:35 minutes to 5:55 minutes – and somehow upping everything that was great about the hit in the first place – making it even more catchy.

“Love Storm” made No. 15 on the US Billboard R&B charts in 1977 – hopefully this superb-sounding CD will reignite its stepper charms in the hearts of those who were there once more…

PS: Tavares titles by SoulMusic include:
1. Hard Core Poetry (September 1974) – Expanded Edition CD on SMCR-5097
2. In The City (August 1975) – Expanded Edition CD on SMCR-5022
3. Sky High! (June 1976) – Expanded Edition CD on SMCR-5023
4. Love Storm (April 1977) – Expanded Edition CD on SMCR-5023
5. Madam Butterfly (February 1979) – Expanded Edition CD on SMCR-5064
6. Love Uprising (1980) – Expanded Edition CD on SMCR-5065

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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