The Aeolian Quartet's epic cycle, originally released in the Seventies, was one of the gramophone's major contributions to Haydn's cause. Listening to the performances anew I find they have lost none of their freshness: they were based on the latest research, and the playing itself is always intelligent and thoughtful, with Emanuel Hurwitz's sweet-toned violin-playing a great asset throughout. (Misha Donat)
A definite soul based session for Donald Byrd – and that's saying a lot here, because his previous decade's worth of work had all had some sort of R&B focus. The main force behind the set here is Isaac Hayes – who's producing, arranging, and playing most of the keyboards on the album. Oddly, Ike's not singing at all – and vocals are instead handled by Rose Williams, Diane Davis, Pat Lewis, and Myra Walker – plus the Hot Buttered Soul group on backing vocals.
Never realised the breadth of the "Pop-Sike" genre until I heard Fading Yellow, a really fine compilation that hangs together beautifully as an album. That most of the tracks are obscure isn't surprising: everything is a little odd, a little ramshackle, with a strong melancholic undertow and not a little creepiness. Of course, this music is also specific to a particular time in Western pop music history so there's a strong nostalgic element, but the knowledge this music could never be exactly replicated is what also makes it so fascinating. Recommended, in a warm and loving 60s way.
7th Wonder were a soul-funk group from Alabama with a style similar to Earth Wind & Fire and Kool & the Gang, a self-contained vocal and instrumental unit whose versatility yielded splendid funky dance tracks and melodic balladry of the Southern Soul genre. Having made their chart debut on Abet Records from Nashville in 1973 with their version of Kris Kristofferson's ballad For The Good Times, the group signed with Parachute in 1978 to score R&B hit singles with Words Don t Say Enough and My Love Ain't Never Been This Strong both featuring on the Words album, recorded mainly at the renowned Muscle Shoals Studio with their house musicians, then moved to the dedicated soul sister-label Chocolate City in 1980, where I Enjoy Ya and The Tilt both also reached the R&B top 50 and featured in their second album, Thunder, recorded at the Malaco Studio in Jackson, Mississippi.
Music Speaks Louder Than Words is from start to finish a great smooth jazz album. A project of professionals who know their work. A pleasure for all listeners.