Saturday, August 23, 2014

Luther Vandross-Busy Body (1983)


Still organizing and updating the 'L' entries in my library, my head still buried in the 80's..... A perfect opportunity to serve up "Busy Body", the third solo album by the late contemporary r&b/soul phenom, Luther Vandross. "Busy Body" didn't make quite the cut when I did my mega-feature on Luther a few years back while I was running "The Music Nexus", but presenting it now feels very appropriate, considering I have been quite the busy body myself lately—both in the off-line world with my gardening projects and even more so in the virtual world digging up old music gems like this to share. Actually, I'd dug up this "Busy Body" album more than a week ago just so that I could enjoy what has become seemingly endless replays of my favorite track, "For The Sweetness Of Your Love". And how sweet this dance jam it is! First time I heard it, which was many, many moons ago, I noted how similar the funky post-disco beat sounded to another jam that Luther himself had written and produced: Aretha Franklin's "Get It Right" from 1984 (that one's my jam, too!). But my love for "For The Sweetness Of Your Love" goes waaaaaaaaaaaay beyond just that funky disco beat! It's so much fun listening to the lyrics and all of the things—some of them quite funny—that Luther would do, as the title theme of the song goes, for the sweetness of her love. Here's all of my favorite lines from the main chorus:

'Sweeter than the sugar on a candy bar'
'I'd go 10 rounds with Sugar Ray' (that boxing bell ring adds a humorous touch)
'I'd eat my Wheaties every day' (do people even eat Wheaties anymore?)
'I'd even wrestle Mr. T' (remember him?)
'And I'd set fire to Smokey The Bear' (now that one's the best, heard in the song's closing seconds)

That main chorus has to be the sweetest part of the whole song—those funny lines, plus the soulful ladies on backup vocals echoing Luther's 'sweet sweet', 'well well', 'oooh weeee' and the 'whooo whooo'. Even as sweet as "For The Sweetness Of Your Love" is, there are some other sweet moments on this short, seven-track effort. How many times have you heard "Make Me A Believer" on the quiet storm r&b radio channels? A lot! This is one of those slow jams that'll stay on the airwaves until the end of time! And how many times have you heard an elegant duet between Luther and another sophisticated singer? "How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye?" is full of such elegance, featuring fellow contemporary soul legend Dionne Warwick (she certainly seems to have a way of popping up on everybody's album, including yesterday's featuring of Richard Carpenter's "Time"). And if you thought it was time to jam on "For The Sweetness Of Your Love", it's really time to get down and groove on the 5+ minute funk-filled dance opener, "I Wanted Your Love", and "I'll Let You Slide". One song I didn't recall from previous listenings was his rendition of the Aretha Franklin classic, "Until You Come Back To Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)". Well, it's actually merged with the first half of the album's final track entitled "Superstar" with completely different lyrics in such a manner that it sounds nothing like Aretha's original. Kind of a bummer, I suppose, as I love the original, plus the remakes by Miki Howard and Polish pop singer, Basia Trzetrzelewska (I still love writing out her last name), though I'm too busy enjoying my replays of "For The Sweetest Of Your Love" and this album's other jams to even be let down by that in the slightest:

1. I Wanted Your Love
2. Busy Body
3. I'll Let Your Slide
4. Make Me A Believer
5. For The Sweetness Of Your Love
6. How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye? [feat. Dionne Warwick]
7. Superstar/Until You Come Back To Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)

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