I still vividly remember those glorious crate digging days in record stores in Cologne, Dusseldorf, and Amsterdam. There was one store in Amsterdam in the late 80s which had almost every Polydor Records album of Roy Ayers as an import from the US and I also found an album on his own record label, Uno Melodic (starting around 1980) which featured a track that became a pivotal part of my DJ years: the track was “Everybody” and is the opener to this fine collection of Uno Melodic artists which Roy signed and produced between 1980 and 1983. Two more tracks from his “Lots Of Love” album are featured here, both immortal as well: “Chicago” and “And Then We Were One”.
The Eighties Ladies were also part of the label and their biggest song is on the album as well: I still treasure my rare 12″ vinyl of “Turned On To You” which has lost none of its fascination. Marva Hicks and Sylvia Striplin were part of the group which has three more tracks on the compilation here, among them the title track to their “Ladies Of The Eighties” LP. And Sylvia Striplin, whose “You Can’t Turn Me Away” was covered by Erykah Badu, is included here as well of course. Another Roy Ayers co-penned anthem, still flying high on my alltime favorite list. Her “Give Me Your Love” is included, too.
It was a peak period for Roy Ayers between the late 70s and early to mid 80s and so he could also hire flutist Bobbi Humphrey who was recording for Blue Note Records in the 70s. She recorded just one album for Uno Melodic, “Baby Don’t You Know”, with the instrumental version included here. As an avid reader of album credits, one of the vocalist names which popped up on a lot of albums during this period was Ethel Beatty. So it’s a nice surprise to be able to listen to her only solo single, written by Roy and released in 1981: “I Know You Care” is a typical Ayers rare groove disco anthem and Ethel’s voice simply sublime and absolutely coherent with Roy’s writing and composing style. It’s a hypnotic 6-minute piece. And the flip side to her single, “It’s Your Love”, co-written with Dee Dee Bridgewater, is on here as well.
Saxophonist and flutist Justo Almario had recorded with Roy since the mid 70s before the release of his 1981 LP “Interlude”, the title track of which is featured here. And a nice, chilling, midtempo flowing tune it is. We also get the spoken word classic “Remember To Remember” by Rick Holmes and longtime Ayers writer James Bedford who recorded as Jaymz Bedford for the label in 1981 and continued to work with the master long after the label was gone. “Just Keep My Boogie” is a fair enough disco/funk tune, although much less attractive than “You Can’t Turn Me Away” (Sylvia Striplin) or “Sing Me” (Eighties Ladies) which he also wrote.