Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Olukayode Balogun | Leeds, England | 06/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Anyone who's a fan of George Benson's Tommy LiPuma-produced output from the mid to late 70s will probably already know who Ronnie Foster is. Alongside other brilliant musicians like Harvey Mason (on drums), Jorge Dalto (on piano) and Phil Upchurch (on bass and/or rhythm guitar), Ronnie Foster (usually on electric piano & synthesisers) formed part of the rhythm section that backed Benson on recordings like Breezin', In Flight, Weekend in L.A. and Livin' Inside Your Love and he served up some pretty awesome solos on all of these albums while he was at it.
This album from 1978 was Foster's debut and indeed, Benson is one of the people he thanks on the album cover, "for the platform on which my music was launched".
I fell in love with the idea of getting the album after I heard two tunes from it on a cassette I copied off a friend in college. This was in the early 80s. I didn't actually get to consummate that love until 1990 when after searching high and low for years (this was well before eBay and the like), I finally found a copy of the album on vinyl for £6 in a second-hand record store in Camden, north London. The seller warned me that the record had a slight scratch on one side, which I thought was jolly decent of him, but I really didn't care. I just had to have it. I've enjoyed and treasured the record ever since but boy, how I have waited for the chance to get it on CD! At last, (as is usually the case when it comes to more obscure and specialist titles), it's finally here on Japanese import. I was jumping for joy when I first found out. It's not cheap but to be honest I would've paid anything.
As albums go, although it's got some blinding moments, I'll be the first to admit that it's nothing particularly special on the whole. I highly recommend it but I feel obliged to point out that it's purely a matter of personal taste. Produced by Jerry Peters and arranged by Foster, the album features people like Harvey Mason on drums, Ndugu "Leon" Chancler & Paulinho da Costa on percussion, with special guests Stevie Wonder playing incredibly fluid drums on "Happy Song" (one of my favourite songs here) and Roy Ayers doing his vibraphone thing on "Midnight Plane".
Other favourite tracks include the heart-grabbing and appropriately titled ballad "A Soft Heart", Foster's version of "Nassau Day", which he actually wrote but was made popular the following year by George Benson (and Benson's version was rather better, if you ask me) and the title track, "Love Satellite".
Foster sings too, on songs like "Why Don't You Look Inside", "Midnight Plane", "I Want To Bring My Love Back Home" and "Easier Said Than Done", which surprised me when I first heard him mostly because he actually has a rather nice voice, somewhat reminiscent of Stevie Wonder's. Foster describes Wonder as "the best friend I ever had" on the album cover and as a matter of fact, he'd played on Wonder's evergreen classic Songs in the Key of Life a few years prior. So I guess the obvious influence is to be expected. I actually like his singing voice.
But it's his keyboard and songwriting skills that make this CD a winner for me. He may never have found the success of many of his contemporaries, including his pal George Benson but I think he's pretty cool. If you love any of the albums I mentioned at the top there, you owe it to yourself to at least check this one out."