Friday, 29 June 2018

"Fever [1983]/Electric Lady [1985]" by CON FUNK SHUN (October 2014 Robinsongs/Cherry Red Reissue - 2LPs Remastered Onto 1CD) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"…Can You Feel The Groove Tonight…"

It’s hard to argue with 17 hit singles in a row (1977’s "Ffun" even hit the No. 1 slot) and seven charted albums into the bargain – so Robinsongs of the UK have reissued the lot across 3 CDs (see list below). This 4th title in the series adds CON FUNK SHUN’s 1983 and 1985 efforts on Mercury Records – and does so with style.

Released October 2014 – "Fever/Electric Lady" by CON FUNK SHUN on Cherry Red/Robinsongs Records CDMRED 636 (Barcode 5013939163638) features 2 full albums Remastered onto 1 CD as follows (71:07 minutes):

1. Can You Feel The Groove Tonight
2. Indiscreet Sweet
3. Baby, I’m Hooked (Right Into Your Love)
4. Thinking About You, Baby
5. Don’t Let Your Love Grow Cold
6. Lovin’ Fever
7. Hard Lovin’
8. If I’m Your Lover
Tracks 1 to 8 are their 8th album “Fever” released November 1983 in the USA on Mercury 814 447-1 M-1

9. Turn The Music Up
10. Rock It All Night
11. I’m Leaving Baby
12. Tell Me What You’re Gonna Do
13. Electric Lady
14. Don’t Go (I Want You Back)
15. Circle Of Love
16. Pretty Lady
Tracks 9 to 16 are their 9th album “Electric Lady” released May 1985 in the USA on Mercury Records 824 345-1 M-1

The 12-page booklet has detailed (and honest) liner notes by CHARLES WARING of Soul Jazz Records and Mojo Magazine fame with a full-throated remaster by ALAN WILSON. This CD sounds amazing – full of punch – even when the Eighties Drums threaten to deaden everything. The guitar and synth solos in “Turn The Music Up” are in your face.

“Baby, I’m Hooked (Right Into Your Love)” is a sweet ballad with an infectious vocal and slinky radio-friendly beat. A bit of a smoochy standout on the album - it was released in November 1983 as 45 in the USA (Mercury 814 581-7) and not surprisingly rose to Number 5. “Thinking About You Baby” is the first disappointment – very filler. Better is the Side 2 opener “Don’t Let Your Love Grow Cold” – again released as a 45 (Mercury 818 369-7) – but its Doobie Brothers “Minute By Minute” feel feels like its four years too late for the party. Its B-side “Lovin’ Fever” opens with that funky synth flicker that seemed to afflict so many songs of the period – it’s good but it lacks the hook to take it out of the ordinary. We get all Brothers Johnson slap bass funky with “Hard Lovin’” while “Fever” ends proceedings on an upbeat “She’s A Bad Mama Jama (She’s Built, She’s Stacked)” Carl Carlton tip. The album “Fever” managed a healthy Number 12 on the Billboard R&B charts. The follow-up album “Electric Lady” did better at Number 9 – helped by catchy hits – the Gap Band infused “Electric Lady” (4), the lovely ballad “I’m Leavin’ Baby” (12) and one that bubbled under in the Discos - “Tell Me (What I’m Gonna Do)”. The album sleeper is the “PYT” Michael Jackson vibe of “Pretty Lady” – another potential single.

A clever reissue and another tick in the copybook of Robinsongs

PS: other CON FUNK SHON titles reissued by Robinsongs:
1. Loveshine (1978) / Candy (1979) – Robinsongs CMDRED 428
2. Touch (1980) / 7 (1981) / To The Max (1982) – Robinsongs CDBRED 519
3. Con Funk Shun (1976) / Secrets (1977) – Robinsongs CDMRED 555

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