Saturday, December 14, 2013

"Ready for Love" by Silverado

Song#:  0655
Date:  07/04/1981
Debut:  95
Peak:  92
Weeks:  3
Genre:  Soft Rock

Ready For Love by Silverado on Grooveshark

Pop Bits:  Hailing from Connecticut, this group was signed to RCA on the west coast and they released  a couple country-rock albums in 1976 and 1977. The LPs didn't move nationally, but they did scored some local airplay. Their association with RCA ended and with that came a move back east. They signed with Pavillion/CBS and issued the soft rock disc "Ready for Love." The title track was the lead single and it gained enough attention to get it on the chart for a few weeks. But it wasn't enough to keep the group going and it would be their final album.

ReduxReview:  Oh such disappointment. This song starts off great with a nice opening and a really cool verse and I thought for sure I'd discovered a lost treasure. But then the chorus hits and it turns into a bland, dorky, sing-songy tune that basically negates the excellent lead-up. If not for the opening and verse, the rating for this song would be notches lower, but I'm scoring some points here for coming up with half of a terrific song.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  This group was founded and mainly consisted of two musicians - Carl Shillo and Buzz Goodwin. Although Goodwin left the band after their heyday to work in the pro audio biz (and unfortunately died in 2013), Shillo still continues to play under the Silverado moniker in the New England area.


Friday, December 13, 2013

"(There's) No Gettin' Over Me" by Ronnie Milsap

Top 10 Alert!
Grammy Alert!
Song#:  0654
Date:  06/27/1981
Debut:  75
Peak:  5
Weeks:  20
Genre:  Country Crossover

Pop Bits:  By this time, Milsap was already a country superstar with 17 #1's already in his chart bank (this would become his 18th), but acceptance on pop radio was slow to come. Over the years he could only get a couple Top 30 entries, but this lead single from his album "There's No Gettin' Over Me" finally broke him through into the Top 10. Sadly, it would be his only song to do so. The success of the single helped the album become his best effort on the pop chart (#31) and it would serve as his second #1 country album.

ReduxReview:  Obviously one of Milsap's best and it certainly was worthy of getting into the Top 10 - finally! It's such an easy-going song and his vocal is great. During the time on the pop chart when country artists were crossing that line between pop and country, this was one of the best that came along.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  This song won Milsap the Grammy for Best Country & Western Vocal Performance, Male. It would be his third Grammy in the category.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

"Everlasting Love" by Rex Smith and Rachel Sweet

Song#:  0653
Date:  06/27/1981
Debut:  80
Peak:  32
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Pop

Everlasting Love by Rex Smith & Rachel Sweet on Grooveshark

Pop Bits:  Smith became a major teen idol in the 70s with his Tiger Beat photos and posters all over bedroom walls. Primarily a musician, Smith also got involved in acting and had several roles on stage and in TV and film. In the music world, he is mainly known for his gold #10 record "You Take My Breath Away" (1979) that was featured in a TV movie he was in called "Sooner or Later." Although he ended up recording six albums for Columbia Records, only "You Take" and this single reached the chart. Sweet had recorded two rock LPs with Stiff Records and then moved over to Columbia for her next LP where she was paired with Smith for this duet. She would release only one follow-up album before quitting the music biz in 1982, later focusing on writing and producing for TV including shows like "Hot in Cleveland."

ReduxReview:  You can't really improve on the Carl Carlton disco version of this song (see below) and trying to turn it into a rock-oriented tune doesn't quite work. The vocals are actually quite good, but the arrangement can't make up its mind what to do. There are crunchy guitars, bells, strings, and other sounds that combined make the whole thing all muddled, which is sad because this is really a great tune. The singers try to rise above it, but overall it falls flat.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  This song is a remake of the #13 hit by Robert Knight (1967). It has since hit the Top 40 four other times with Carl Carlton (#6, 1974), the Smith/Sweet duet, and Gloria Estefan (#27, 1995). It is only one of two songs that has been remade and been a Top 40 hit in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. The only other song to accomplish this is "The Way You Do the Things You Do," originally a hit by The Temptations in 1964.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"The Real Thing" by The Brothers Johnson

Song#:  0652
Date:  06/27/1981
Debut:  81
Peak:  67
Weeks: 6
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  The two Johnson brothers had four consecutive platinum albums including their popular 1980 effort "Light Up the Night," which featured the hit "Stomp!" (#7). All of these albums were produced by Quincy Jones and the Brothers seemed to have a good thing going. However, that came to an end with their next album "Winners," which the Brothers took on production duties themselves. The album failed to replicate the success of their previous albums and fell far short of expectations by not even reaching gold status. This single fell shy of the R&B Top 10 peaking at #11 and barely made a dent in the pop chart where it would be their final charting song. It was not a good start and further singles couldn't really get anywhere. The duo broke up briefly in 1982 but did put out a couple more albums before the decade was out, but the best they could manage were a couple of R&B Top 20 entries. This song basically ended the heyday for the duo.

ReduxReview:  Although not a bad song at all, it just doesn't have that same spark as some of their previous songs. After four discs with Jones, I'm sure they thought they were ready to branch out on their own, but I think Jones' guidance is missing here. It bops along pretty good, but it lacks something solid to latch onto like "Stomp!" had.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Two songs from the duo's debut album ended up being remade later by their producer. Quincy Jones' 1989 Grammy-winning Album of the Year LP "Back on the Block" featured the Brothers' songs "Tomorrow" and "I'll Be Good to You," which the Brothers took to #3 in 1976. The Quincy Jones version of "I'll Be Good to You" was performed by Ray Charles and Chaka Khan and it reached #18, while Tevin Campbell sang "Tomorrow" and reached #75.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

"Walk Right Now" by The Jacksons

Song#:  0651
Date:  06/27/1981
Debut:  83
Peak:  73
Weeks:  4
Genre:  R&B, Dance

Pop Bits:  Although the third single from their "Victory" album was not a success ("Can You Feel It," #77), this fourth single was issued and it didn't really do much better. Perhaps because "Can You Feel It" reached the UK Top 10 the label felt that a follow-up was needed, and indeed this single also went Top 10 there. Even though the songs were not clicking on the US pop chart, this song did reach #5 on the dance chart.

ReduxReview:  This era of the Jacksons is almost really good. I've liked the two previous singles, but not loved them and I think this falls in the same line. They have some good ideas and arrangements, but I'm not sure that the songs are as fully realized as they could be. With Michael learning more and having great success with his solo songs (writing his own and using other composers' songs), you can hear his influences here, but it seems like co-writing with his brothers holds him back. Their work is just not as strong and it makes what is potentially a great song just good.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  For a long time, it was commonly thought that Diana Ross discovered The Jackson 5 with Berry Gordy - hence the title of their debut album "Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5." However, that was a publicity maneuver. It was actually Gladys Knight who first heard the group and brought them to the attention of Berry Gordy. Gordy didn't want to sign the young kids at first, but after an audition he saw the potential and brought them on to the Motown label. But to get the ball rolling, a plan for a celebrity endorsement to "introduce" the group was hatched and that lead to Diana Ross promoting the group and making it seem like her and Gordy found them. It obviously worked.


Monday, December 9, 2013

"It Hurts to Be in Love" by Dan Hartman

Song#:  0650
Date:  06/27/1981
Debut:  84
Peak:  72
Weeks:  5
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  After issuing a couple of disco/dance-oriented LPs that did pretty good business and reached the chart, Hartman moved away from that dying genre and released an album that leaned towards pop/rock. "It Hurts to Be in Love" got off to a slow start with the first ballad single "Heaven in Your Arms" only reaching #86. This second title-track single was a very slight improvement, but it still wasn't enough to generate interest in the LP and it sank without getting on the album chart.

ReduxReview:  As a fan of Gene Pitney (see below), his Brill Building take is still far better. But Hartman does a nice job with the update and it sounds good, even though it seems to lack a little personality. It needs a little dirty drama to really push the song, which was always a highlight of a solid Pitney vocal. Very pleasant to hear, but I'll stick to the original.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  This song is a remake of the #7 hit by Gene Pitney in 1964. The song was originally intended for Neil Sedaka, but a label issue prevented his first version from being released. Sedaka recorded a second version, but it was again denied release. The song was offered to Pitney and strangely, they took Sedaka's second take and simply replaced his lead vocal with Pitney's. For whatever reason, that was acceptable and Pitney's version reached the Top 10.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

"Don't Let Go the Coat" by The Who

Song#:  0649
Date:  06/27/1981
Debut:  87
Peak:  84
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  The Who reached the Top 20 for the last time (and the UK Top 10) with "You Better You Bet" (#18) from their album "Face Dances." This follow-up single couldn't come close to that peak and faded quickly from the chart. The song is interpreted by some to be about the teachings of Meher Baba, the Indian spiritual master, whom Pete Townshend followed. Townshend wrote several pieces with Baba in mind and even one of The Who's most famous songs was partially inspired by him - "Baba O'Riley."

ReduxReview:  After the exciting "You Better You Bet," this is kind of a let-down. It's very laid back and just seems too subtle for radio. And it seems like Daltrey's voice is too big for this little ditty. Especially by the end it seems he just wants to rip it up, but then realizes it's not that kind of song. I wouldn't count this among The Who's best at all.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  The album "Face Dances" was The Who's first without drummer Keith Moon, who had died of an overdose three years earlier. Small Faces/Faces drummer Kenney Jones took over the spot and recorded this album with the group.