Buddy Guy – Slippin´ In (1994)

Whereas on 1993’s Feels Like Rain Buddy Guy flirted with pop and R&B material, on Slippin’ In, released one year later, he firmly reasserts his bluesness. From the very first track on, Guy lets his incomparable guitar loose. Throughout the album, he even experiments with Hendrix-esque effects on his guitar (perhaps at the prodding of producer/engineer Eddie Kramer), but the results never seem kitschy or gimmicky. Accompanied on half of the tracks by ex-Stevie Ray Vaughan associates Tommy Shannon and Chris Layton, the groove is deep and swinging. It makes you realize how much of Vaughan‘s signature sound lay in his rhythm section. There are only two original Guy compositions on Slippin’ In, but since he has always been better as an interpreter than a writer, this is a non-complaint. Playing a superb foil to the leader is none other than Johnnie Johnson, whose solo on “7-11” simply takes over the track. The difference in sound quality between this album and Feels Like Rain is astounding. Whereas on Feels Like Rain the sound was often thin and unimpressive, über-engineer Kramer has created an ideal sonic space here for Guy‘s music. Some may feel that the individual instruments are too distinct, but for those who feel that the development of multi-tracking and other advances in recording technology are good things will not be disappointed. Also absent from Slippin’ In is the rotating all-star casts of notables that appeared both on Damn Right, I’ve Got the Blues and Feels Like Rain. This is encouraging, because an artist of Guy‘s stature and caliber does not need celebrity appearances to make his records worth investigating, a fact which he proves masterfully on this album.


1.  “I Smell Trouble”  (Written-By – D. Robey) – 3:12
2.  “Please Don’t Drive Me Away”  (Written-By – C. Brown, J. Ervin) – 3:55
3.  “7-11”  (Written-By – F. Robinson) – 6:57
4.  “Shame, Shame, Shame”  (Written-By – J. Reed) – 3:29
5.  “Love Her With A Feeling”  (Written-By – L. Fulson) – 4:27
6.  “Little Dab-A-Doo”  (Written-By – B. Guy) – 5:19
7.  “Someone Else Is Steppin’ In (Slippin’ Out, Slippin’ In)”  (Written-By – D. LaSalle) – 4:26
8.  “Trouble Blues”  (Written-By – C. Brown) – 3:07
9.  “Man Of Many Words”  (Written-By – B. Guy) – 3:02
10.  “Don’t Tell Me About The Blues”  (Written By – J. Quinn) – 6:16
11.  “Cities Need Help”  (Written-By – B. Guy) – 5:29

Companies, etc.


Release Date: October 25, 1994
Recorded at Arlyn Studio and at Chicago Recording Company.
Genre: Blues
Styles: Chicago Blues
Duration: 49:39

Label – Silvertone Records

James Walsh Gypsy Band – James Walsh Gypsy Band (1978)

Gypsy was an American progressive rock band from Minnesota, formed as The Underbeats (1962–1968). Gypsy was the house band at the Whisky a Go Go, West Hollywood, California for about eight months from September 1969 to 1970 and were known in 1970 for their US Billboard Hot 100 single “Gypsy Queen Part 1 and 2”. Most of Gypsy’s music was composed and written by guitarist and singer Enrico Rosenbaum. Drummer Bill Lordan went on to play with Sly & the Family Stone and a long career with Robin Trower. Keyboardist James Walsh continued the band in various incarnations as The James Walsh Gypsy Band.
In 1978, James Walsh formed “The James Walsh Gypsy Band”. The group released one album by the same name on RCA. This was a reformed band with James Walsh being the only original member. The music was also significantly different from any of Gypsy’s previous albums.
Many of the songs contained horn arrangements and had a Top 40 sound to them. For a number of reasons, including that this was the height of the disco era, the album sold poorly.
Two songs from the album, “You Make Me Feel Like Livin” and “Cuz It’s You Girl”, did receive some airplay. This would be the last album of new material released by the group for over two decades.


A1.  You Make Me Feel Like Livin’ – 3:12
A2.  Love Is For The Best In Us – 3:24
A3.  Bring Yourself Around – 3:59
A4.  Don’t Look Back – 3:44
A5.  Cuz It’s You, Girl – 3:59
A6.  You – 4:07

B1.  Gray Tears – 5:17
B2.  My Star – 1:58
B3.  Whole Lotta Givin’ To Do – 3:35
B4.  Lookin’ Up I See – 5:21
B5.  Someday – 3:20


Other Credits

Dale Menton – string arrangements
The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra – strings
Alfons Mucha – cover art
Cindy Bosdech – art
Ron Geslin – art direction

Released: 1978
Genres: Blue-Eyed Soul, Funk
Style: Pop Rock
Length: 41:56

Label – RCA Victor Records

Marvin Gaye – In The Groove (1968)

I Heard It Through the Grapevine! is the eighth studio album by soul musician Marvin Gaye, released on August 26, 1968 on the Motown-subsidiary label Tamla Records. Originally released as In the Groove, it was the first solo studio album Gaye released in two years, in which during that interim, the singer had emerged as a successful duet partner with female R&B singers such as Kim Weston and Tammi Terrell. The album and its title track are considered both as Gaye’s commercial breakthrough.

Never overly reliant on the Holland-Dozier-Holland machine, Marvin Gaye weathered their departure pretty well, turning to Norman Whitfield (for the epochal “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”) as well as Ivory Joe Hunter, Ashford & Simpson, Frank Wilson, and, for two songs, his own pen. One of Gaye‘s other R&B hits from In the Groove, the impassioned “You,” is in the Four Tops style (it’s patterned after “Reach Out”), while “Chained” is another brilliant performance and production of a sub-standard tune. The Brill Building standard “Some Kind of Wonderful” and “There Goes My Baby” were early-’60s throwbacks in sound and feel, quite a jarring effect in context. After “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” became one of the biggest hits of 1968, Motown re-released the LP as I Heard It Through the Grapevine.

By 1968, Marvin Gaye had released only a few solo singles in three years. Between his Kim Weston duet, “It Takes Two” and his Tammi Terrell duets, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Your Precious Love” among others, Gaye released only one single, “Your Unchanging Love“, which peaked at number 33 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Motown brought Gaye back to the studio to record a solo album. Recording difficulties aside, Gaye’s vocals went through a transition through this period. Perhaps done on purpose, Gaye’s earlier collaborator Norman Whitfield and his pupil, Frank Wilson, began to write songs they felt fit the singer’s chaotic personal life: Gaye’s marriage to Anna Gordy was turbulent as was life on the road in which Gaye grew a constant dislike to live performances and his personal disagreements with Motown CEO Berry Gordy had started to create strain in his relationship with the Motown label.

On top of that, during an October 1967 engagement at Hampden-Sydney College with Terrell, the younger Terrell collapsed from exhaustion into Gaye’s waiting arms. Terrell was later diagnosed at the end of the year with having a brain tumor, which depressed Gaye. Some speculate Terrell’s illness and subsequent death two and a half years later affected Gaye’s performances in which he went from being a soul stylist in the same way his idol Sam Cooke had been into a more gospel-influenced soul vocalist who sounded more in par with Otis Redding, James Brown, and Temptations lead singer David Ruffin. However, during the recording of what would become Gaye’s biggest-selling and signature single of his career, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine“, Whitfield decided to force Gaye to raise his vocal register higher than what he was used to, which Whitfield already tried successfully on Ruffin during the recording of the Temptations hit, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg“. Though Gaye and Whitfield reportedly argued over the sessions of “Grapevine”, Whitfield was able to get what he wanted from Gaye, and the duo started a collaboration that lasted into the beginning of 1970.

When Whitfield presented “Grapevine” to Berry Gordy, the producer was stunned when Gordy turned it down sensing the song “wasn’t a hit” and that “it sucked”. Nevertheless, Whitfield released a version of the song by Gladys Knight & the Pips in an attempt to “out-funk Aretha Franklin‘s “Respect“.

Gordy eventually agreed to allow “Grapevine” in the album, now titled In the Groove. But Whitfield was still determined to get Gaye’s version of the song released as a single. Motown instead issued the Ivy Jo Hunter-produced “You“, which was recorded after “Grapevine” and showcased Gaye hollering in falsetto for the first time. Another single, “Chained“, would peak at number 32 on the pop chart. The latter song was climbing the chart when radio deejays began playing “Grapevine”, much to Berry Gordy’s chagrin. To everyone’s surprise, when Gordy finally allowed the release of Gaye’s version of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”, the song blew up on the charts upon its October 1968 release. By the end of the year, the song had hit number-one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot-Selling Soul Singles charts and by 1969 had reached number one on the UK Singles chart becoming Gaye’s first international smash. However, when Gaye heard about its success, he acted coldly to it due to his depressed state over Tammi Terrell. He later told a biographer he felt the song’s success was “undeserved”.

Nevertheless, Motown re-released the album as I Heard It Through the Grapevine and, due to the song’s success, the album shot up to number 2 on the R&B albums chart and peaked at number 63 on the pop albums chart. Gaye’s album wasn’t the only album to be re-released after a hit single: in 1970, The Miracles‘ Make It Happen album, initially released in 1967, was re-released in 1970 as Tears of a Clown, after that song hit number-one in the US and internationally. That same year, Diana Rossself-titled debut album was re-released as Ain’t No Mountain High Enough after that song’s success. Though Whitfield only produced just one song on the album (producers included Ivy Jo Hunter, Ashford & Simpson and Frank Wilson), Gaye and Whitfield will embark on a two-album collaboration. However, after “That’s the Way Love Is” became a hit for Gaye in 1969, Motown released the song a second time on the album of the same name. This album also marked Gaye’s first attempts at producing himself in the studio with his own self-penned songs, the funky gospel dancer, “At Last I Found a Love”, and the smoother “Change What You Can”.


1. “You”  (Jeffrey Bowen, Jack Coga, Ivy Jo Hunter) – 2:25
2. “Tear It on Down”  (Nickolas Ashford, Valerie Simpson) – 2:35
3. “Chained”  (Frank Wilson) – 2:38
4. “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”  (Barrett Strong, Norman Whitfield) – 3:14
5. “At Last (I Found a Love)”  (Marvin Gaye, Anna Gordy Gaye, Elgie Stover) – 2:37
6. “Some Kind of Wonderful”  (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) – 2:19
7. “Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever”  (Ivy Jo Hunter, Stevie Wonder) – 2:43
8. “Change What You Can”  (Marvin Gaye, Anna Gordy Gaye, Elgie Stover) – 2:37
9. “It’s Love I Need”  (Stephen Bowden, Ivy Jo Hunter) – 2:54
10. “Every Now And Then”  (Eddie Holland, Frank Wilson) – 3:06
11. “You’re What’s Happening (In The World Today)”  (G. Gordy, R. Gordy,  A. Story) – 2:19
12. “There Goes My Baby”  (Benjamin Nelson, Lover Patterson, George Treadwell) – 2:24


Released: August 26, 1968
Recorded: 1967–68
Genre: Soul / Tamla Sound
Length: 27:08

Label – Tamla Records

Gene Loves Jezebel – The House Of Dolls (1987)

Gene Loves Jezebel (GLJ) are a British rock band formed in the early 1980s by identical twin brothers Jay Aston (born John Aston) and Michael.
The name of the band is a reference to the rock musician Gene Vincent and his song “Jezebel“.
Tagged by most fans as their favorite Gene Loves Jezebel album, with its fabulous sonics, punchy rhythms, soaring guitars, and bright and brash pop melodies, this is also the record responsible for sundering the band. In one fell swoop, producer Peter Walsh turned GLJ from a band whose brilliance lay in their ability to blend rock and goth into something truly unique, into a pop/rock monster. The group itself never sounded better. The rhythm section is exceptionally tight and powers the songs like a metronome. James Stevenson‘s guitar literally shines, glimmers, glitters, and swoops through the grooves.
It’s no surprise then that the album contained a slew of songs that quickly became college/dance classics.
The infectious “The Motion of Love”; the sweeping lushness of “Gorgeous,” guaranteed to hook the listener at first listen; the pulsating, yearning paranoia of “Suspicion”; and the driving “Twenty Killer Hurts,” which turned up in a Miami Vice episode, were classic GLJ‘s songs given an American sheen. What were missing were the gothic shadows, darkwave jangle, and Celtic undertones that once enmeshed the band’s sound. The Jezzies themselves hated The House of Dolls, not the songs themselves, but the slick production Walsh covered them in. Co-vocalist Michael Aston hated it most of all, and was frustrated by the group’s growing pop affiliation.
He quit the band in the middle of recording, and appears on only two tracks, “Message” and “Up There,” the album’s broodier tracks. Although he later returned, this was to be his last recording with the band. Of course, the album turned out to be GLJ‘s most successful, abetted by the production, and aided by Stevenson‘s full-on arena-esque guitar. It’s hard to believe this was the same band that gave the world Promise and Immigrant, and in a way it wasn’t.


1.  Gorgeous – 3:43
2.  The Motion Of Love – 3:49 (Producer – Jimmy Iovine)
3.  Set Me Free – 3:29
4.  Suspicion – 3:48)   (Producer – Jimmy Iovine) 
5.  Every Door – 4:34
6.  Twenty Killer Hurts – 3:31
7.  Treasure – 3:57
8.  Message – 3:49
9.  Drowning Crazy – 3:18
10.    Up There – 4:41


Released: 1987
Genre: Rock
Style: Alternative Rock
Length: 39:21

Label – Beggars Banquet Records

Carlos Santana – Playin’ With Carlos (2005)

At the time of this 2005 compilation, Carlos Santana had appeared on a lot of records by other artists — around 60, according to the liner notes of this release. A multi-disc anthology of these guest appearances would be impractical, and not especially desirable. Playin’ with Carlos does offer 15 tracks Santana guested on between 1969 and 1997, though licensing obstacles prevented the inclusion of some of his most high-profile contributions, such as the ones he made to recordings by Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, John Lee Hooker, Eric Clapton, and Lauryn Hill. Though this CD does contain cuts by some big or fairly big names (John McLaughlin, Stanley Clarke, McCoy Tyner, Michael Bloomfield and Al Kooper), it’s a bit of a ragtag batch of odds and ends that doesn’t make for especially good listening. The jump between fusion, pop, world music, new age, and Latin rock styles is a bumpy ride, but a greater problem is the blandness of much of the material, particularly when Santana is stepping outside of his trademark, fiery jazz-blues-Latin rock blend and just adding some spice to unremarkable records. Certainly for Santana fans, at times the only moments of interest here are his guitar parts, and while these have his trademark sound, they aren’t often especially memorable. Exceptions are Clyde Criner‘s “Behind the Sun,” where Santana unleashes a searing solo near the end, and Giants‘ “Fried Neckbones and Home Fries” (which Santana, the band, did in their early days), where Carlos suddenly seems at home and in his element, peeling off some real burning lines.


1. John Mclaughlin – Friendschip – 6:56
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

2. Gregg Rolie – Too Late Too Late – 4:33
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

3. Stanley Clarke – Straight To The Top – 3:56
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

4. Weather Report – Man With The Copper Fingers – 6:13
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

5. MCcoy Tyner – Hannibal – 7:03
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

6. Ottmar Liebert – Samba Pa Ti – 4:13
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

7. Flora Purim – Silver Sword – 5:39
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

8. Narada Michael Walden – First Love – 5:44
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

9. Terri Lyne Carrington – Human Revelation – 5:47
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

10. El Tri – Virgen Morena – 4:33
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

11. Luis Gasca – Little Mama – 5:26
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

12. Giants – Fried Neckbones And Home Fries – 6:24
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

13. Mike Bloomfield And Al Kooper – Sonny Boy Williamson – 3:16
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

14. Alex Acuña – Psalms – 5:57
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

15. Clyde Criner – Behind The Sun – 2:41
Lead Guitar – Carlos Santana

Companies, etc.


Release Date: May 10, 2005
Genre: Pop/Rock/Jazz
Styles: Jazz Blues / Latin Rock
Duration: 1:18:21

Label – Raven Records

The Guess Who – ’87 (EP)

The Guess Who is a Canadian rock band, formed in Winnipeg in 1965. Initially gaining recognition in Canada, the group found international success from the late 1960s through the mid-1970s with many hit singles.

In 1983, Bachman, Cummings, Kale, and Peterson (the “American Woman” line-up) reunited as “The Guess Who” to play a series of Canadian gigs and record the Together Again live album and video at the Canadian National Exhibition bandshell on June 29, 1983. The concert and subsequent releases were the first time Bachman had performed many of the songs written and recorded after his departure. Four new studio recordings were also made with overdubbed audience noise.

After the reunion, Cummings resumed his solo work, Bachman took Peterson with him for a Bachman-Turner Overdrive reunion album and tour, and Kale once again resumed touring with various musicians under “The Guess Who” banner. In the fall of 1983, Russell and Bernardi joined Kale, as well as singer Trevor Balicky and keyboardist Mike Hanford (from the 60s Winnipeg band Gettysbyrg Address). In 1985 Balicky was succeeded by former Stilettos singer Bob Fuhr and then, in 1986, Kenny Carter. Terry Read (formerly with The Lyme) came in briefly to sub for Hanford in 1986.

In 1987 a four-song cassette of new material from the Kale/Russell/Bernardi/Hanford/Carter line-up appeared, called Guess Who ’87. In one of the few mainstream reviews it received, Craig MacInnis of the Toronto Star opined, “The playing is roadhouse sloppy and the songs are pure junk.”

After the BTO reunion played itself out, Drummer Peterson returned to the Guess Who just after the release of Guess Who ’87. From this point on, the band mostly concentrated on the by now very lucrative US nostalgia circuit, appearing on bills like Super 70s (in the summer of 1988) with Bachman–Turner Overdrive, Rare Earth, Mark Farner and Ray Sawyer (of Dr. Hook) and Dick Clark‘s American Bandstand Tour in 1989.

Track listing

1. Razors Edge
2. Evil Eyes
3. Is This the Love
4. Don’t Want a Broken Heart


  • Jim Kale
    bass, vocals
  • Kenny Carter
    lead vocals
  • Dale Russell
  • Sonnie Bernardi
  • Mike Hanford

Released: 1987
Genre: Rock
Length: 15:46

Label – Guess Who Records – GW 87

Jackyl – Jackyl (1992)

Jackyl is an American hard rock band formed in 1991. Their sound has also been described as heavy metal and Southern metal.

Forever confined to infamy as the authors of the one and only “Lumberjack” song, Jackyl nonetheless did have more to offer than that one chain saw-wielding song and its sightly video. In fact, their self-titled debut album has a good share of above-average early-’90s hair metal, making it one of the few albums of its era (and, yes, there were many) that stands out in retrospect. First off, Jackyl isn’t your typical hair metal band by any measure. They’re not from Los Angeles, aren’t glammed up, and don’t offer the obligatory power ballad; rather, they’re Southern rockers by nature and, perhaps uncoincidentally, have more than a passing resemblance to Brian Johnson-era AC/DC. Even so, their singalong choruses are, for the most part, unmistakingly hair metal styled, as is the glossy sheen of their production, so the songs on Jackyl are easily accessible to all. Edgy music this is not. The opening run of songs — “I Stand Alone,” “Dirty Little Mind,” “Down on Me,” and “When Will It Rain” — go down especially smoothly, pretty much as smoothly as anything offered by the likes of Warrant, the Bulletboys, Slaughter, Trixter, Love/Hate, ad infinitum. From here, the band tones down the singalong factor a bit and showcases its eccentric side: songs like “Redneck Punk,” “She Loves My Cock,” and of course, “The Lumberjack” definitely aren’t your typical hair metal fare and are essentially what set Jackyl apart from their innumerable contemporaries. In the end, they haven’t done anything too remarkable on their debut album. They’ve simply offered an above-average hair metal album with a couple highlights and a fun touch of novelty. Yet that in itself is somewhat remarkable. As a result, Jackyl is one of those few early-’90s hair metal albums you can return to with a sly grin rather than a disowning cringe. As for what came after afterward, that’s a good question that few can answer, as Jackyl disappeared as suddenly as they surfaced, confined forever to “Lumberjack” infamy.


1. “I Stand Alone” – 3:58
2. “Dirty Little Mind” – 3:30
3. “Down on Me” – 4:03
4. “When Will It Rain” – 4:34
5. “Redneck Punk”  (Jeff Worley/Ronnie Honeycutt) – 3:37
6. “The Lumberjack” – 3:32
7. “Reach for Me” (Jesse Dupree/John Hayes) – 3:34
8 .”Back off Brother” – 3:25
9. “Brain Drain” (Jeff Worley/Jimmy Stiff) – 4:58
10. “Just Like a Devil” – 3:34
11.”She Loves My Cock” – 3:51

All songs written by Jesse Dupree except as noted.


  • Jesse James Dupree – Vocals & Chainsaw
  • Jimmy Stiff – Guitars
  • Jeff Worley – Guitars
  • Thomas Bettini – Bass
  • Chris Worley – Drums

Companies, etc.


Released: August 11, 1992
Recorded: 1992
Genre: Hard rock, heavy metal
Length: 42:48

Label – Geffen Records

Melvin James – The Passenger (1987)

Former leader of power poppers Crash Street Kids goes solo with major label.
Melvin James is a name unknown to many, but residents in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota should remember this fellow going way back into the 80’s. Bought up on a diet of 70’s greats where all the usual suspects crossed his turntable (Cooper, Purple, Heep, Bowie, T-Rex etc), James was a self taught guitarist who apparently had his first ever gig at the tender age of 14. By his late teens, James had moved to Minneapolis, formed the band Crash Street Kids, who released an acclaimed debut album on Fat City Records. He spent six years with that band before the label went belly-up. Undeterred, Melvin was a prolific songwriter with enough material to go in search of solo deal. A few showcases later, James was snapped up by MCA, who won out in an apparent bidding war!
The resulting debut album, ‘The Passenger’, was released in 1987, and would prove to be James’ only solo release up to this point. When listening to this, you can’t help admire the sound, which really sounds as if it is a better fit around the new wave/power pop era from the 1979/1981 era. For reference points, I hear guys like Mikael ErlandssonGlen Burtnick and Tommy Keene. Interesting to see Dik Shopteau (previously with Minnesota legends Judd and the Daisy Dillman Band) in the credits, along with well renowned drummer Joe Vitale, who is also a solo artist in his own right (refer his album ‘Plantation Harbor’). Perhaps the most recognisable track here is the opener ‘Why Won’t You Stay (Come In, Come Out Of The Rain)’. A video was made of this song (refer below). Other highlights include the expansive ‘We Hear The Thunder’, the 80’s synth pop of ‘She’s So Sorry’, the pulsy pop/rock sound of ‘Loving You Is Strange’ or the big arena rock that emanates from the grooves of ‘Sugar Candy’.

Unfortunately James’ time at MCA ended when the label had a broom swept down the halls of senior management – he along with a few others were dropped from the label. ‘The Passenger’ peaked at 146 in 1987, and the single ‘Why Won’t You Stay’ made it onto Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, though I hardly think that actually means anything. In the ‘where is he now’ stakes, James is now in the band Planet Melvin, playing alongside his son (Melvin James Jnr), who plays drums. The guys are still at it today. For an 80’s blast of power pop/rock in the vein of Glen Burtnick, ‘The Passenger’ is worthy of your investigation.


1. Why Won’t You Stay (Come In, Come Out of the Rain)  (4:28)
2. We Hear the Thunder  (4:52)
3. Telephone  (4:12)
4. Passenger  (4:05)
5. Loving You Is Strange  (4:21)
6. Twisted  (4:00)
7. She’s So Sorry  (3:38)
8. Sugar Candy  (4:03)
9. Devil with a Halo  (3:11)


Melvin James Lead Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Percussion
Gordy KnudtsonPye Prochowitz Drums
Joe Vitale Drums, Synthesizer
Dik Shopteau Bass
Dave Hern Bass Synthesizer

Companies, etc.


Released: August 24, 1987
Genre: Rock
Style: AOR
Length: 36:53

Label – MCA Records

Rebbie Jackson – Centipede (1984)

Maureen Reillette “Rebbie” Jackson (born May 29, 1950) is an American singer. Born and raised in Gary, Indiana, she is the eldest child of the Jackson family of musicians.
Centipede is the debut album by American singer Rebbie Jackson. Released on the Columbia label in Autumn 1984, the album spawned two top-forty Billboard charting hits, the most famous being the title track.

Although the Jacksons are R&B’s most famous family, being a Jackson never guaranteed longevity. Take Rebbie Jackson, for example. In the 1980s, the sister of Michael, Janet, Tito, Randy, LaToya, Marlon, Jermaine, and Jackie Jackson had her 15 minutes of fame, but despite being very well connected, she never headlined Madison Square Garden. None of her albums had the impact of Janet‘s Control, let alone Michael‘s Thriller. But she did enjoy a lot of publicity in 1984, when Columbia released her debut album, Centipede. Written and produced by Michael, the alluring title song became a major hit and is a jewel of a single. But the other tracks aren’t fantastic — pleasant, but not fantastic. As Rebbie‘s critics were quick to point out in 1984, she doesn’t have a great voice — nor does Janet, for that matter, and despite her limitations as a singer, Janet has delivered some truly stunning albums. But while Janet had Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to help her excel on classics like Control and Rhythm Nation 1814, Rebbie doesn’t get that sort of encouragement on Centipede. Most of the tracks were produced by Wayne Henderson, who has an impressive track record but doesn’t enable her to go that extra mile. Henderson sees to it that she is pleasant on “Open Up My Love” and a remake of Smokey Robinson‘s “A Fork in the Road,” but while this LP simmers, it rarely burns. One track that is especially revealing is Rebbie‘s version of Prince‘s “I Feel for You,” which Chaka Khan also covered in 1984. While Khan‘s interpretation is stunning, Rebbie‘s is merely decent. And that is true of the album on the whole — Centipede is a decent record, but except for the title song, it isn’t a great one.


1. “Centipede” (Michael Jackson) – 4:25
2. “Come Alive It’s Saturday Night” (Marlon Jackson, Jackie Jackson, Randy Jackson, Tito Jackson) – 4:13
3. “Hey Boy” (Tito Jackson, Delores Jackson, Michael McKinney) – 4:38
4. “Open Up to My Love” (Jon Springer, Don Daniels, Mary Stewart) – 4:10
5. “Play Me (I’m a Jukebox)” (Pam Tillis, Jan Buckingham) – 3:27
6. “I Feel for You” (Prince) – 3:54
7. “A Fork in the Road” (Smokey Robinson, Pete Moore, Ronnie White) – 3:46
8. “Ready for Love” (Frank Hamilton III) – 3:00


  • Rebbie Jackson – vocals
  • David Williams, Charles Fearing – guitar
  • Nathan East, Nathaniel Phillips – bass
  • Frank “Rusty” Hamilton – Moog bass, keyboards, synthesizer
  • Randy Jackson, Bobby Lyle, John Springer – keyboards
  • Nick Johnson, John Barnes – synthesizer
  • Mike Hightower – DMX programmer
  • Leon “Ndugu” Chancler, Alvino Bennett – drums
  • Jerry Kaye – flugelhorn
  • Michael Jackson, Weather Girls (Izora Armstead, Martha Wash), Randy Jackson, Tito Jackson, Gwen Matthews, Marlena Jeter, Maxi Anderson, Garry Glenn, Patryce Banks, John Springer – backing vocals

Companies, etc.


Released: October 10, 1984
Recorded: 1983–1984
Genre: Soul / Funk
Length: 31:39

Label – Columbia Records

Instant Funk – The Funk Is On (1980)

Instant Funk were an American 1970s and 1980s disco band, best known for their disco classic, “I Got My Mind Made Up (You Can Get It Girl)“.

Instant Funk came out of Trenton, New Jersey consisting of Raymond Earl, drummer Scotty Miller and guitarist Kim Miller. The group was then called The Music Machine and they were very successful as a back-up band for The Manhattans, Bunny Sigler and also the TNJs. Throughout their careers, Instant Funk would be the back-up band for many stars, including Lou Rawls, Loleatta Holloway, The O’Jays, MFSB, Curtis Mayfield and Evelyn Champagne King (they are the backing band on the hit single, “Shame”).
The group relocated to Philadelphia in 1976 to release its first album, as they started to formulate their own sound.

On their third Salsoul album, The Funk Is On, Philly soul band Instant Funk shows an acute pop music sensibility. But funk fans need not worry, this album lives up to its title; the band still funks. The title track single, written by Brass Construction‘s Randy Muller, is pure, unadulterated funk. The same could be said for the gritty “You Want My Love.” The second single, “Everybody,” has a serious bounce groove along the lines of Zapp‘s “More Bounce to the Ounce” or Vaughn Mason’s “Bounce, Skate, Rock, Roll.” The Larry Levan 12″ extended remix clocked in at 8:47 and features Jack Faith‘s dynamic arrangement and James Carmichael’s arousing guttural groans towards the track’s climax. The funny, plucky “Funk-n-Roll” has yodels. The snappy “It’s Cool” is a skater’s favorite and shows off some deft guitar and bass. The third single was the sweet, simmering ballad “What Can I Do for You” that should have given the band its first hit ballad. Producer Bunny Sigler shows the band’s lighter side on the melodic, swing jazz-flavored “Can You See Where I’m Coming From” and the upbeat “You’re Not Getting Older.”


A1. The Funk Is On – 4:40
Arranged By – Instant Funk
Written-By – Randy Muller

A2. Everybody – 5:31
Arranged By – Jack Faith
Mixed By – Larry Levan
Written-By – Dennis Richardson

A3. You Want My Love – 4:23
Arranged By – Bunny Sigler
Written-By, Arranged By – Raymond Earl, Scotty Miller

A4. Funk-N-Roll – 4:16
Written-By, Arranged By – Johnny Onderlinde

B1. It’s Cool – 5:25
Arranged By – Johnny Onderlinde, Larry Davis, Noel Closson
Written-By – Noel Closson

B2. What Can I Do For You – 4:00
Written-By, Arranged By – Kim Miller

B3. Can You See Where I’m Coming From – 4:16
Arranged By – Jack Faith
Written-By – Bunny Sigler, Jimmy Sigler

B4. You’re Not Getting Older – 4:24
Arranged By – Jack Faith
Written-By – Bunny Sigler

Companies, etc.


Release Date: 1981
Recording Location: Sigma Studios, Philadelphia, PA
Genre: Soul
Styles: Disco, Funk
Duration: 36:33

Label – Salsoul Records