Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Black Silk

There are good music compilations, average music compilations, bad music compilations with one or two good songs hidden amongst plenty of crap, and then there is Black Silk Volume 1. Despite searching for years for Black Silk Volume 2, I have come to the conclusion that this was optimistic thinking on their part, and the intention was to produce more, but they never quite got off the ground. I'm kind of glad, in a way; I shudder every time I think of another Now That's What I Call Music! release.

Black Silk is just that: silky smooth, and the ultimate pick of some of the best R&B songs of the time. While each song is found in abundance on other compilations, there is something about this one which reeks of perfection (and not cheese). I don't know why; it just does.

Here's what I love about the individual tracks on this album:
  1. How 'Bout Us (Champaign) - our band played the short version of this for several years, but I never tire of listening to it even today. Guaranteed to be well received by a crowd at any time of the night.
  2. Kiss & Say Goodbye (The Manhattans) - apart from the tiny celesta error at the start (which still works), this song is utter perfection. I'd love for our band to be able to pull this off. Beautiful sax work.
  3. Too Much, Too Little, Too Late (Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams) - the usually annoying, floaty sound of Deniece Williams is grounded by the sincere, soulful Johnny Mathis. I shudder at the thought of a breakup in the latter years, but if it had to happen, it should be dignified like this.
  4. Just the Two of Us (Bill Withers) - wow, what a bass line. I'd be happy to just listen to this song with every other track switched off (but, of course, prefer the whole package).
  5. You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine (Lou Rawls) - the man with the silkiest chops (voice); no denying it.
  6. Me & Mrs Jones (Billy Paul) - another beautiful love song, this time telling of forbidden love. Magic.
  7. After the Love Has Gone (Earth, Wind & Fire) - already blogged about this one.
  8. Ain't No Sunshine (Bill Withers) - the original. Simple, understated, and the "I know" section is done in one long breath.
  9. Summer Breeze (The Isley Brothers) - I love both versions of this song, although it took me a while to warm to this one. The incredibly harsh guitar solo and outro don't fit with the tone of the song at all, yet somehow seems to make perfect sense.
  10. Love Train (The O'Jays) - a bit of light relief on the album.
  11. Shining Star (The Manhattans) - again, wonderful vocal work.
  12. Lady Love (Lou Rawls) - this song somehow seems to come across as sincere, even over a Vegas-style lounge backdrop. Glad to hear Lou having the last say on this album.

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