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My exploration of the best eighties sounds continues with this little beast. 35 tracks to get your teeth into and spread over three discs, it collects some of the more soulful cuts from the eighties and delivers the extended versions. This is perfect for dancefloors or for people who just want to indulge in the full mixes.
The late and great Luther kicks us off with the superb 'Never Too Much.' Luther's vocals are a godsend, where each word is drenched in his manly tones. The man can melt away fears and the soulful funk of the song sweeps over you like a gentle ocean spray.
Chaka Khan appears and 'Im Every Woman' is a belter of a song. Dynamic vocals, perfect pitch and the right balance of pop and soul, crusing over the disco beat. Head next to De La Soul for some nifty rap vibes on 'Me Myself And I'. The rapping is fresh, youthful and has that air of amateurish about it, even though the final product is polished to a tee.
You simply have to check out the uber cool 'White Lines' by Grandmaster Flash, for a furiously funky piece of music. This extended version allows the song to flourish.
As we hit disc two, dip into the Pointer Sisters where the smooth 'Automatic' will make you want to start swaying the hips. Less abrasive than 'Jump,' the vocals are sleek and the melody addictive. Shannon's blustery 'Let The Music Play' commands the attention with a fiery vocal and a groove that would ignite any dancefloor. Love the reverb on the vocal here too, which sounds wicked.
Also check out Womack and Womack. 'Teardrops' has stunning vocals and a rhythm which just calls you to dance. The balance of male and female vocals is spot on too. For something harder edged, nip over to Tone Loc's 'Funky Cold Medina.' Maybe someone can explain what he is singing about? His cool style of rapping is effortless and the song makes me think of cruising the streets of Miami in a softtop.
My final tips come in the form of gravelly voiced Jocelyn Brown and stroppy scary woman Grace Jones, both of whom turn in truly amazing performances for two very different takes on soulful pop.
This is a wicked album, very strong song choices and some fine memories too.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 LUTHER VANDROSS - NEVER TOO MUCH (12")
2 D TRAIN - YOU'RE THE ONE FOR ME (12" MIX)
3 CHAKA KHAN - I'M EVERY WOMAN (FULL LENGTH)
4 ALYSON WILLIAMS - SLEEP TALK (12")
5 DE LA SOUL - ME MYSELF & I (12")
6 ERIC B & RAKIM - I KNOW YOU GOT SOUL (US 12")
7 GRANDMASTER FLASH AND THE FURIOUS FIVE - WHITE LINES (US 12")
8 YOUNG MC - KNOW HOW (12")
9 KURTIS BLOW - IF I RULED THE WORLD (12")
10 OLLIE & JERRY - BREAKIN'...THERE'S NO STOPPIN' US (FULL VERSION)
11 JACKSON SISTERS - I BELIEVE IN MIRACLES (12")
12 MACEO & THE MACKS - CROSS THE TRACKS (WE BETTER GO BACK) (12" MIX)
Disc #2 Tracklisting
1 CHANGE - CHANGE OF HEART (12")
2 THE POINTER SISTERS - AUTOMATIC (LONG MIX)
3 SHANNON - LET THE MUSIC PLAY (12")
4 BOBBY BROWN - MY PREROGATIVE (12")
5 HEAVY D AND THE BOYZ - WE GOT OUR OWN THANG (12")
6 TONE LOC - FUNKY COLD MEDINA (FULL VERSION)
7 FULL FORCE - ALICE, I WANT YOU JUST FOR ME! (12")
8 DAZZ BAND - LET IT ALL BLOW (FULL LENGTH)
9 JODY WHATLEY - LOOKING FOR A NEW LOVE (REMIX)
10 KOOL & THE GANG - FRESH (12" MIX)
11 WOMACK & WOMACK - TEARDROPS (12" VERSION)
12 CAMEO - WORD UP (ORIGINAL 12" CLUB MIX)
Disc #3 Tracklisting
1 JOCELYN BROWN - SOMEBODY ELSE'S GUY (12")
2 MARY JANE GIRLS - ALL NIGHT LONG (12")
3 FATBACK BAND - I FOUND LOVIN' (12" Mix)
4 DENNIS EDWARDS - DON'T LOOK ANY FURTHER (12")
5 GWEN GUTHRIE - AIN'T NOTHING GOING ON BUT THE RENT (12" MIX)
6 ORAN JUICE JONES - THE RAIN (12" Mix)
7 COMMODORES - NIGHT SHIFT (LONG VERSION)
8 WILL DOWNING - A LOVE SUPREME (EXTENDED)
9 THIRD WORLD - NOW THAT WE'VE FOUND LOVE (12")
10 GREGORY ISAACS - NIGHT NURSE (12")
11 GRACE JONES - MY JAMAICAN GUY (12")