Saturday, July 20, 2013

WORKING WEEK-Working Nights (1985)


After a long work week, I was ready to sit back and chill out to some good music on this Saturday night when I'm not working. Having gotten thrills about all of these 80's music albums I've been listening to lately where jazz is featured in some instrumental form or another, I thought I'd continue my music explorations back into my favorite decade with another unfamiliar artist where then element of jazz is prominent. That would be the British ensemble that calls itself WORKING WEEK, whose 1985 debut, "Working Nights" (it's gonna take me a while to get used to not mistaking the title as the group name, and vice versa), became my first album of choice as soon as I read up on the band and their music style. Having noted the part mentioning the group's influence in paving the way for other successful acts, what I expected was that late 80's sophisti-pop sound resembling acts like SWING OUT SISTER, JOHNNY HATES JAZZ, MATT BIANCO and THE BLOW MONKEYS—a sound I truly miss. What I got, however, was a sound that sounded even more retro than I thought—almost like the classic ball room jazz from the 60's and early 70's. The production, as I found, seemed to have a lot to do with that, but the main contributor has to be the amazing voice of the group's soulful leading lady on vocals: Juliet Roberts—piercing, vibrant, passionate and sophisticated, causing me to want to put her on the same level as such legendary sirens as Etta James and Ella Fitzgerald. Haven't known Juliet nor her music for very long—yeah, like about two hours long!—but after listening to her astounding performances on "Sweet Nothing" and "Who's Fooling Who?", I think she deserves to be there on that level. I must admit, however, that reading about the jazz is what attracted me to WORKING WEEK in the first place, so my ears were listening more intently to the instrumental melodies, especially those served up on "Who's Fooling Who?" (let's face it—this song is my #1 fave!), "Thought I'd Never See You Again" (the breezy, extended jazzy bossa nova/piano combo happening that hooks me to this one!) and "Autumn Boy" (this time, the lively cheerfulness of the saxophone takes center stage). That held true until I got to "Venceremos" which, judging by the title (I believe this translates to "We Will Overcome"), I knew would have Spanish lyrics, and that always scores points with me. Except the lyrics are more like Spanglish, and our resident siren smoothly alternates between the the languages on the fly. Instrumental music lovers would adore the album's final two cuts: "No Cure No Way" and "Stella Marina", as each run for a whopping 8+ minutes long—limited vocals, but a whole lot of jazzed-up coolness. My fun fact for the day sprung up when I discovered that Juliet had provided backup vocals to dance singer Cathy Dennis' "Move To This" album! One of these days, I'll go back and see if I can make out Juliet on some of those songs. Meanwhile, WORKING WEEK's debut may not exactly be something you can move to, but it's definitely something you can groove and chill out to long into the weekend night:

1. Inner City Blues
2. Sweet Nothing
3. Who's Fooling Who?
4. Thought I'd Never See You Again
5. Autumn Boy
6. Solo
7. Venceremos
8. No Cure No Pay
9. Stella Marina

1 comment:

Nasty G said...

I have Juliet's debut album posted on my blog should you be interested. ;)