Shalamar's Early 80s Masterpiece
M. Edwards | Buckinghamshire United Kingdom | 04/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""BEAUTIFUL music by beautiful people" was SOLAR's (Sound of Los Angeles Records) bold motto. And nowhere was this declaration better displayed than on Shalamar's 1982 album. It was an album that sent Howard Hewett, Jeffrey Daniels and the beautiful Jody Watley into the Megastar stratosphere, and it made a lasting impression in the pop/R&B consciousness.
You have to hand it to Dick Griffey (Executive Producer and record label head). He had a knack of drafting together the right blend of songwriters and producers who brought out the best of Shalamar's talents. Howard Hewett has one of the finest tenor voices in the business and it was put to good use here. Jody was also blossoming into a stylish vocalist. However, it was the blending of Howard and Jody's voices that made Shalamar's sound different.
Every artist/group has a defining album in their repertoire, and "Friends" was Shalamar at their best. It's worth pointing out that the whole Shalamar experience was different in the UK than in the US. Shalamar were HUGE in the UK, and all the released singles were massive hits on the pop charts. "A Night To Remember", "I Can Make You Feel Good", "There It Is" and the title track became anthems and the us Brits adopted the trio as our own
The album opens with the classic "A Night to Remember", which is perhaps the most famous Shalamar song of all time. Jody and Howard take the lead here. This gem of a track is still getting airplay today. "Don't Try To Change Me" is an all-Jody lead song, and she did a fine job. "Help Me" is a fabulous, funky mid-tempo number.
Other tracks worth mentioning are the title track, the awesome "There It Is" and "I Can Make You Feel Good". No other Shalamar album encapsulates a period better than "Friends". If, like me, you wore your vinyl version out, treat yourself to a CD and take a trip down memory lane.
p.s. here's a little Shalamar trivia for the younger music fans who may not be aware. It was Shalamar's Jeffrey Daniels who introduced the Moonwalk to the masses, and NOT Michael Jackson on the Motown 25 concert! This is one fact the Mr Jackson failed to point out, and Jeffrey never received the credit he deserved.
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