Friday, December 20, 2019

"As We Lay" by Shirley Murdock

Song#:  2987
Date:  01/17/1987
Debut:  79
Peak:  23
Weeks:  18
Genre:  R&B, Soul, Quiet Storm

Pop Bits:  This gospel singer from Ohio got a break in the music business when she got picked up by another Ohio act, the R&B/funk band Zapp. She was hired on by the band's leader, Roger Troutman, as a backing vocalist in the early 80s. Troutman also enlisted Murdock to supply vocals for his own second solo LP (he recorded simply under the name Roger) in 1984, and on Zapp's fourth album the following year, which included the #8 R&B hit "Computer Love." Murdock had featured vocalist spot on that song and it quickly raised her profile. Her next stop was a contract with Elektra Records and a 1986 self-titled debut album produced by Troutman. Her first single, "No More," got to #24 R&B/#27 Dance. A follow-up failed to chart, but this third single became her major breakthrough. It got to #5 at R&B while making the Pop Top 30 and hitting #21 at AC. A follow-up single, "Go on Without You" would reach #5 R&B. The hits helped her album get to #9 R&B and #44 Pop. It would eventually be certified gold. Unfortunately, this song would be Murdock's only one to reach the Pop chart.

ReduxReview:  This quiet soul ballad did well on the Pop chart, which was a little surprising. Although it had verses and a chorus, the melodies were drawn out with Murdock interpreting each a bit different. It nearly made for a rambling tune, yet somehow it all worked. A lovely tone was set from the beginning and Murdock gracefully guided you through the quiet parts while ramping up her vocals at the appropriate times showing off her range and pipes. For a song about infidelity, it's kinda romantic! It's a terrific quiet storm track that is rarely heard these days.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Murdock would release two more albums for Elektra each of which generated a Top 10 single at R&B. However, despite the hits it seemed album sales lagged and she wouldn't get the opportunity to record a fourth major label LP. She would then return to her gospel roots and release the album Home in 2002. It would make the Top 10 on the Gospel chart as would her 2007 effort Soulfood.


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