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Consisting of Jody Watley, Howard Hewett and Jeffrey Daniel (the later who was primarily a dancer for the group and taught Michael Jackson ho to perform the Moonwalk) the R&B band Shalamar made their debut in 1977 when they brought "Uptown Festival" an album that would feature them doing some Soul, Disco and general R&B work.
1. "Inky Dinky Wang Dang Doo"
They get the album underway with a jam that has them showing exactly what direction you should expect from their music with their watered-down Funk to make for some general Pop and Disco material. Personally I felt that it was a pretty weak way to get things going and made a poor first impression as they bring a tune with some energy, but with very little happening other than gibberish being sang.
2. "Beautiful Night" (Lude)
3. "Uptown Festival"
After seeing them bring an instrumental work that has them bring Samba and is merged with some synthesizer work for a rather unimpressive display, you see that they com off the unimpressive display with a Disco-remixed medley of popular Motown tracks that all should recognise. It is a slight improvement and I believe that much of this is down to the fact that the songs of so familiar, but is massive length is seen to pull it back.
4. "High On Life"
Written by Don Cornelius, the host of 'Soul Train', who find that here they bring the first tune that I felt something for as they come out with a tune that escapes all the annoying Disco elements in order to give them the chance do something a little different. I felt that it only felt nice because it was juxtaposed with such wack material, but so i can't say that it's really all that, but it isn't a bad one.
5. "Ooo Baby Baby"
Here Shalamar come to cover some classic material from The Miracles and with such heavy Soul material to work form, I couldn't see how they could go wrong (unless they chose to increase the pace). Luckily they kept it together here and brought a smooth tune that stood as one of the biggest on the record and shows the vocal ability of Howard Hewett in away that no other track on the album is able to.
6. "You Know"
As they keep to the smoother end of things with this one, you see that they don't lose things like the way that things were seen to begin the album with (making it off-putting in its early stages). It is one that features some infectious melodies and so is bound to grow on you with time as you see how well the vocals compliment the groovy backing that it receives and gets to prop it up along the way.
7. "Forever Came Today"
The album ends with another cover and in this case you see that they come with material that was famously taken on by The Jackson Five as well as the original from Diana Ross & The Supremes. It has them reverting to the Disco work, but in this case it isn't as much as an effort to overcome its lack of substance. It isn't the best way to end, but builds upon the type of thing that got the album underway.
In spite of its short length, this is a massively inconsistent release from Shalamar and one that really didn't do well to start their career with only really a couple having much to them. When you consider that their biggest hits were in the Disco-Funk style, they aren't particularly good at it at this point.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Inky Dinky Wang Dang Doo
2 Beautiful Night
3 Uptown Festival [Medley]
4 Going to a Go-Go
5 I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)
6 Uptight (Everything's Alright)
7 Stop! In the Name of Love
8 It's the Same Old Song
9 Tears of a Clown
10 Love Is Like an Itching in My Heart
11 This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)
12 Baby Love
13 He Was Really Sayin' Somethin'
14 High on Life
15 Ooh Baby Baby
16 You Know
17 Forever Came Today
18 Simon's Theme