MELBA MOORE – STANDING RIGHT HERE: THE ANTHOLOGY - THE BUDDAH & EPIC YEARS
A huge run of greatness from singer Melba Moore – an artist who maybe hit her heights on the late 70s Buddah and Epic Records material featured here! Moore already had a fantastically well-developed voice by the time of these recordings – thanks to time on the stage in a number of key productions, including Hair and Purlie – but the late 70s also shows her really finding the right sort of focus for her unusual talents – maybe pulling back a bit at the right moments, and folding her strength into the overall groove of a tune – spearheaded here with excellent work from producers who include McFadden & Whitehead, Eugene McDaniels, and Van McCoy! CD1 features 17 tracks from her time at Budddah Records, CD2 features 14 more cuts recorded for Epic – and the collection also features some rare b-sides and other material from singles. Titles include "My Sensitive Passionate Man", "Standing Right Here", "I Am His Lady", "This Is It (12" mix)", "Stay Awhile", "So Many Mountains", "Good Love Makes Everything Alright (12" mix)", "You Stepped Into My Life", "Night People (12" mix)", "Next To You", "Rest Inside My Love", "You Stepped Into My Life (special disco mix)", "There's No Other Like You", "Just Another Link", "Night People (12" mix)", and "Burn (UK rmx)". ~ Dusty Groove
HERBIE HANCOCK – THRUST / MAN-CHILD / SECRETS
A trio of heavy-hitting albums from Herbie Hancock – served up together in one collection, with bonus tracks too! First up is Thrust – killer electric work from Herbie Hancock – right on par with his groundbreaking Headhunters set, but a bit spacier too! The album features a Headhunters-solid lineup – with Bennie Maupin on saxes, Paul Jackson on bass, Mike Clark on drums, and Bill Summers on percussion – all grooving wonderfully with Herbie on a set of super-long tracks! Hancock himself handles a host of incredible keyboards – Fender Rhodes, clavinet, Arp, and lots more – all in a lean electric style that still sounds as fresh today as it did way back in the mid 70s – perhaps even more so, given the return to this sort of basic groove that has happened in recent years! Tracks are long, tight, and super funky – and titles include "Actual Proof", "Palm Grease", "Spank-A-Lee", and "Butterfly".
Next is the album Man-Child – funky mid 70s Herbie Hancock – one his funkiest albums of the era! Herbie plays a host of cool keyboards – like Fender Rhodes, Arp, and clavinet – and he's joined by a group that includes just about all of the Headhunters – including Paul Jackson on bass and Mike Clarke on drums – plus help from a great array of other excellent guests – including Bennie Maupin and Wayne Shorter on reeds, Harvey Mason on drums, and even some guest keyboards from Stevie Wonder! The album's great – maybe a bit understated than Thrust, but still equally wonderful – and the whole thing's worth it alone for the classic uptempo cut "Hang Up Your Hang Ups" – alongside other cuts that include "Bubbles", "Heartbeat", and "Sun Touch".
Last up is Secrets – soulful 70s work from Herbie Hancock – a record that tightens things up from the Headhunters and Sextant sessions, but which still retains a lot of their depth and charm! Players here including some previous partners – like Bennie Maupin on reeds and Paul Jackson on bass – plus the mighty Wah Wah Watson on guitars, James Levi on drums, Kenneth Nash on percussion, and Ray Parker on additional guitar. Tracks are tightly electric fusion, but still have some of the sharper tones of Herbie's electric work – weird moogy moments mixed into more straight ahead funk – all with a sound that's not unlike some of Ramsey Lewis' best Columbia work of the period. Herbie plays Fender Rhodes, Arp, clavinet, mini-moog, and more – and titles include "Doin' It", "Spider", "Swamp Rat", "People Music", and a remake of "Cantelope Island" that's pretty darn tasty! 2CD set features 8 bonus tracks – all the single mixes of the 45s from all three albums! ~ Dusty Groove
HANNAH WILLIAMS & THE AFFIRMATIONS – LATE NIGHTS & HEARTBREAK
It's hard to imagine Hannah Williams having any heartbreak with a voice this great – the kind of all-out soul style that grabs you right away with its power, and never lets you go! The set's the second from Hannah and her group, and it's got even more bite than the first – produced with a great ear for the grittier currents in the grooves, thanks to studio work by Malcolm Catto – who seems to pick up the drums and darkness, which allows Williams to really shine her light over the top of the proceedings! The Affirmations are a funky combo, but one who really know how to mix up their groove, too – and titles include "7am To Seville", "Still In My Head", "Tame In The Water", "Dazed & Confused", "Ain't Enough", "Woman Got Soul", "Fighting Your Shadow", and "Callin Me Back".~ Dusty Groove