AOR Global Sounds Vol. 5, 1977-1984

Pascal Rioux a/k/a Charles Maurice did it again. Assembling incredibly hard-to-find soul gems from the glorious days of the past, 1977 to 1984. Running the fantastic Favorite Recordings out of Paris, this fifth volume in this wonderful series starts off with a track by the group Rhapsody, who released just one LP back in 1981, a jazzy disco soul album with lead vocals by Nick Fradiani and Asa Harris, the latter releasing a fine jazz album on the now defunct MaxJazz label in 1999 called “All In Good Time”. “You Never Know” is a perfect soul/funk/jazz opening to this brilliant comp.

AOR Global Sounds, Vol.5

Jonathon Hansen and Vicki Rosino are next with the synth-heavy “What Its Meant To Me”, recorded in 1978 and released on the totally obscure “Out Of The Rut” LP. More midtempo soul bliss is featured here, along with breathtaking backing vocals, by the like of Mark Williamson. The multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter has recorded three albums, the second of which, “So Far So Good”, was released on Grapevine back in 1979. “I Need You” has been culled from the LP to be included on this album. What a great add.

There is a late 70s CTI feel to The Ferry Brothers and their late-set soul gem “‘Til Mornin’ Comes”. Joe and Bob Ferry had Gwen Guthrie, Patti Austin, and Vivian Cherry on this amazing cut, recorded in New York in 1977 and only available as a 7″. French artists have to be included on a French label compilation of course. Disco boogie keyboardist, singer, and songwriter Didier Makaga released just three albums in the 80s and 90s and “J’irai Squatter Ton Cœur” is from his 1984 LP “Didier Makaga”. Great falsetto vocals and a fantstic early 80s keyboard blue-eyed soul feel.

From Venezuela, we have the fusion jazz/latin group Esperanto. Two albums came out in 1980 and 1981, the second, “Vegas”, is supposed to be rereleased by Favorite later this year. “Kailua” is a great instrumental track, a bass- and keyboard heavy smoother which also boasts with some wonderful piano and brass work, sounding like a John Lee/Gerry Brown meets Ramsey Lewis piece circa 1978. I’m not sure if the group Sugar Cane, which is featured here with “What You Do To Me”, is the same as the late 70s disco group which released about half a dozen singles toward the end of the 70s. This track was highlighted on a rock station in Pittsburgh way back then, but is the only one here which fails to excite.

Global Sounds Number 5 ends with another pretty obscure tune by the group Westside which only released one album in 1982 and which came out on a picture disc which was pretty unusual at the time. The album was mixed by Bernie Grundman who also mixed “Thriller”. “Don’t Take It Away From Me” is another welcome soulful instant classic with tight production, urgent vocals and some fine brass arrangement. A lot of new discoveries again on this one! And naturellement, it’s out on vinyl too!

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