Wednesday, July 17, 2013

WHISPERS-Just Gets Better With Time (1987)


Both the title and the cover artwork to this next old-school throwback couldn't have been more appropriate at this juncture of my music listening adventures! Indeed, as time goes on, the music I discover—or re-discover—keeps getting better and better. Then as for the serves a metaphorical representation of me turning back the clock to my favorite decade. Among the ideas I had in mind for this second leg of my 80's flashback was to check out the albums released in that decade by some of the biggest super-groups in soul music history. Among the legendary names slated on this line-up card include THE FOUR TOPS, THE CHI-LITES, THE DELFONICS, THE DRAMATICS, THE MANHATTANS and, the group I'm now putting the proverbial spotlight on: THE WHISPERS. An excellent choice, given my opening blurb, but even more so because I'd recently heard one of the most memorable and grooviest soul jams from the 80's on the radio while I was at a friend's place: "Rock Steady". What 80's music lover doesn't remember this one like it was yesterday? When I was a kid, and even until the early years of my adulthood, I didn't even know it was THE WHISPERS who had been the talent behind this hit classic; I would've guessed another r&b group from the younger generation. And now that I think of it, there's probably a bunch of songs from the 80's recorded by these former 70's super-groups that I used to think were sung by other artists—EARTH, WIND & FIRE's "When Love Goes Wrong" being the only one I can think of at the moment. It's that idea that the 80's sound was so dramatically different than the 70's sound that those super-groups couldn't have possibly made it into this synthpop-dominated decade. Without a doubt, though, it's the beat that hooks me to "Rock Steady", though one also can't ignore the fine vocals of the group's lead singer. In fact, I love this jam so much that I had to share the instrumental version of it as a special bonus track. And while I'm thinking about music with great beats, I may as well skip down to another memorable hit found here on this album: "And The Beat Goes On". That's the source of another error, as about seven or eight years ago, I had thought it was EARTH, WIND & FIRE who originally recorded this and not THE WHISPERS! Double ouch!! But we can all agree that "And The Beat Goes On" reigns supreme on the list of dance-oriented 80's soul jams! You get a special 6+ minute remix of it here with the original being found on the group's 1979 self-titled release. And you'll hear it again on one other place on this album: 13+ minute medley "Uptown Mix", along with "Rock Steady" and a couple of other songs called "It's A Love Thing" (this one's a killer jam, too; now I've gotta get the album with that original recording!) and "Contagious". Is there room to talk about some of this album's other fine offerings? Sure there is! "Special F/X" may not have been a chart-topper like "Rock Steady", but it's a nice upbeat tune filled with fun lyrics ('you could win an Oscar with those special effects', 'eyes on those thighs', or something to that effect) and fun little sound effects (such as the crowd cheering and clapping, as if in attendance at a real awards ceremony). Though you haven't heard this album's best until you've tried on the three slow jams for size: "In The Mood", "Love's Calling" and "Give It To Me". All three are prime candidates for the quite storm radio airwaves—or just for a quiet night of romancing—with "Love's Calling" and "Give It To Me" both getting extra points from me because of their beautiful flute melody and jazzy saxophone accompaniment, respectively. There's no use in whispering and keeping these tunes on the hush-and-hush; show everyone how much you love listening to THE WHISPERS by playing this album loud and playing it proud:

1. I Want You
2. Special F/X
3. Rock Steady
4. No Pain, No Gain
5. In The Mood
6. Just Gets Better With Time
7. Love's Calling
8. Give It To Me
9. And The Beat Goes On (Extended Version)

*****BONUS TRACKS*****

10. Rock Steady (Instrumental)
11. No Pain, No Gain (12" Mix)
12. Uptown Mix

  • Contagious
  • It's A Love Thing
  • And The Beat Goes On
  • Rock Steady

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