Hope you all enjoy my new blog, and don't forget to check out my other blogs, The Isle Of Deserted Pop Stars and Lost Pop Treasures!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Company B - I Know You Know (1989) & Love Is Not Fair (1990) DOUBLE POST!!

Everyone knows Company B for their huge freestyle hit "Fascinated" from 1986. They were formed in Miami by Ish Ledesma, a producer and solo artist formerly of disco band Foxy. He recruited Lori Livrano (who became his wife), Susan Johnson (now Gonzalez) and Charlotte McKinnon. The song was released on an indie label but interest rapidly spread and they were soon signed by Atlantic Records. The song was a huge hit and a self-titled album was quickly made to cash in. McKinnon, who did lead vocals on "Fascinated", left for a solo career and was replaced by Lori's sister Leslie (aka Lezlee). This incarnation of the group was the one on the album cover and in the videos for "Fascinated" and it's follow-up single "Perfect Lover". A string of dance hits followed and a second album, Gotta Dance, was released in 1989. Lezlee and Susan left before the album was recorded and were replaced by Donna Huntley and Julie Marie. The sound was much less freestyle and more diverse musically, including the housey first single "You Stole My Heart", and the second single, "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy", was a very retro remake of The Andrews Sisters hit from where Company B got their name. But neither single was a hit, and though a follow-up album was recorded, they were dropped. "I Know You Know" comes from Gotta Dance and to me is a beautiful uptempo ballad that features great production and vocals, and is very different from their other songs. The follow-up album, 3, did finally get released on Hot Productions in 1996. Though the vocals are credited to Lori, Lezlee and Susan, according to Julie Marie it was actually she, Donna Huntley and someone named Allison who recorded the vocals. She had no idea the album had been released and holds a grudge towards Ish for changing the names. "Love Is Not Fair" is taken from that album, and in my opinion is easily one of their best tracks, a haunting house/freestyle hybrid with an exotic vocal. Another album was released the same year on Hot Productions, Jam On Me, which has some remakes from the first album and outtakes. Apparently another album, Irresistible, was released in 1998, though I have never come across it. In 2006 the group reformed with original members Charlotte and Susan, as well as new member Arlene Coutee. They released the single "Soldier Boy" in 2008, and Rachel Leslie joined after Arlene left. They continue to tour and perform across America.

Download I Know You Know

Download Love Is Not Fair

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Trinere - No Matter What The Weather (1990/1991)

Miami-based Trinere Veronica Farrington has been called the Queen Of Freestyle, and with good reason. In the 1980s she had a very long string of hit freestyle singles, including "I'll Be All You Ever Need", "All Night" and "How Can We Be Wrong". In 1984 she met producer Tony Butler aka Pretty Tony, from the aptly named group Freestyle, and together they created her first self-titled album released in 1986 on indie label Jam Packed. (She later married him). The singles kept her busy for the next few years until her next album, Forever Yours, was released in 1990 on Pandisc. The album included some of the songs from her first album plus some new, more new jack swing laced songs, like the awesome first single"I Wanted You". It caught the attention of Luther Campbell, of controversial Miami hip hop group 2 Live Crew, who was running his own label Luke Records, which was distributed by Atlantic. He signed Trinere and rereleased the album under the title Games the following year. The freestyle songs were mostly removed and the album became very R&B sounding, with some new tracks including the title single. "No Matter What The Weather" appeared on both albums. Her new direction failed to hit, however, and Trinere was dropped from the label. In 1992 she released one last album on Pandisc entitled Trinere's In The House and returned to the freestyle sound, but unfortunately it's popularity was waning. Since then she has released some 'best of' compilations and toured the freestyle circuit. I have always loved "No Matter What The Weather", which is more R&B than freestyle but still fun. For some reason I really dig the off-key backing vocals. LOL Enjoy!

Download No Matter What The Weather

Vanessa Williams - I'll Be The One (1988)

You all know fabulous diva Vanessa Williams, so I really don't need to go into much detail about her career: First black Miss America in 1983, dethroned for lewd Penthouse photos, then moved on to a hugely successful music and acting career. Though she is now likely known more for her acting career on Broadway, the big screen, and most especially for her TV roles in Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives, Vanessa's music career is really what put her on the map. Her first album The Right Stuff was released in 1988 and is likely her most fun and diverse album. The title track was her first Billboard appearance, but it was the ballad "Dreamin'", a remake of the 1986 song by R&B group Guinn, that was her first top ten single, reaching #8. Seven more albums followed, as did hits, including three top tens: the #1 hit "Save The Best For Last", "Love Is" with Brian McNight, and "Colors Of The Wind" from the animated movie Pocahontas. But of all of her songs, my favourite is from her first album, the overlooked freestyle scorcher "I'll Be The One", produced by the man behind Exposé and so many other freestyle hits, Lewis Martinée. This should have been a single. She even performed it on an episode of the TV movie 'Perry Mason And The Case Of The Silenced Singer', where she played an uber-diva who was murdered. Take a moment to appreciate!

Download I'll Be The One

Friday, September 2, 2011

Dino - She Ain't Shy (1993)

Dino Esposito had a huge hit in 1989 with the funky pop song "I Like It", which reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100. Before embarking on a solo career he had some success as part of the electro group Impakt. Then he released a couple of freestyle singles on indie labels until he got a deal with Island Records offshoot 4th & Broadway in 1988. He released a few charting singles off of his debut album, 2/47, most notably "24/7" (Hot 100 #42) and "Sunshine " (Hot 100 #23). He released his second album on Island, Swingin', his sound less freestyle and more R&B. Three more singles charted: "Romeo" (#6), "Never 2 Much Of U" (#61) and "Gentle" (#31). In 1993 he switched to the EastWest label and released his third and final major label album The Way I Am, which was heavily influenced by the new jack swing sound. The single "Ooh Child", a remake of the Five Stairsteps classic, reached #27 on Billboard, but he was soon dropped after the hits dried up. The track "She's Ain't Shy" differs from most of the tracks on the album as it hearkens back to his 24/7 sound with a house edge. It deserves to be discovered anew! For more on what Dino's been up to since, including extensive production work, check out this website.

Download She Ain't Shy

O'chi Brown - Your Love Controls Me (1987)

Brit O'Chi Brown came to fame in 1985 as one of the first singers to have a hit for Stock, Aitken and Waterman, the fabulous "Whenever You Need Somebody". (Rick Astley did a much more successful remake of it a couple years later.) Before that she had released many reggae influenced singles and two albums: Danger Date in 1983 and Love For You in 1985. But it was that single and the album, O'chi, that brought her momentary worldwide success, especially when major label Mercury picked up her album from indie Brit label Magnet. She had a couple other singles from the album that were minor international dance hits, including a duet with Astley, "Learning To Live (Without Your Love)", but she was still dropped by Mercury. She managed to release a few more singles and one more album on Magnet, Light The Night, in 1987, though it was only released in some parts of Europe and Japan. While it's a good album, it doesn't quite measure up to her work with SAW. One track stands out for me, though, the funky, upbeat "Your Love Controls Me". Enjoy!

Download Your Love Controls Me