Yacht Soul 2 – The Cover Versions

There we are again: Too Slow To Disco is back with another wonderful compilation, the second in the Yacht Soul series. R&B and soul artists covering the songbooks of their white contemporaries. Starting out with the 1973 Mel & Tim track “Keep The Faith” from their self-titled Stax album. A song written by Mark James, probably best known for co-writing “Always On My Mind”. It’s a wonderful midtempo soul swayer which just happens to send good vibes. The group Impact only released two albums and one of them, “The Pac Is Back”, features the Hall & Oates classic “Sara Smile”. Former Temptations singer Damon Harris offers a sweet and sensitive version here. I always liked Carole King’s “It’s Too Late”. Gamble & Huff produced Billy Paul‘s 1972 version. A great bluesy, some kind of jazzy version of the track with Billy’s typical, imaginative vocals.

Singer, songwriter and musician Bill LaBounty wrote “I Hope You’ll Be Very Unhappy Without Me” in 1975 for his debut album. The song has been covered numerous times. Randy Crawford for example did a version. But here, the mighty Esther Phillips is featured from her 1979 LP “Here’s Esther…Are You Ready”, produced by Harvey Mason. The track reminds me of the E,W&F classic “That’s The Way Of The World”. It also features sensational backing vocals by Alex Brown, Stephanie Spruill, and Roy Galloway, among others. I love, love, love “Tin Man”. Originally written by Dewey Bunnell, of America fame, it found its best catalyst with singer John Edwards. Never released on his two LPs, it only came out as a single in 1996, although it had been recorded decades earlier. A true gem! I don’t need to get into detail on Roy Ayers‘ version of “What You Won’t Do For Love”. His version off his “No Stranger To Love” LP can’t be topped.

Yacht Soul 2 - The Cover Versions

The great Arnold McCuller covered Little Feat’s “Gringo” for his 1984 LP ” A Part Of Me That’s You”. A great indie soul cut with Michael Paulo on sax. It gets better with each listen. I haven’t yet heard a proper cover version of Stevie Nicks’ “Dreams”. I think this is better left untouched. Yes, there is an interesting version by Dianne Reeves, probably the only one which counts. But other than that? I always liked the almost quirky vocal style of Richie Havens whose 1979 version of the song is featured here, but it doesn’t really take off. Bill LaBounty is back again for “I Want Love To Find Me”, recorded by the wonderful Brenda Russell. This remains a classic. Nice add! And it’s always a joy to hear Patti LaBelle‘s version of the Michael Franks gem “Monkey See – Monkey Do”. It’s from her 1978 “Tasty” album.

We also get the Seals & Crofts classic “Euphrates”, recorded by The Main Ingredient with Cuba Gooding in 1974, another cult song. As is “Listen To The Music”, the Doobie Brothers staple released by the Isley Brothers on their 1973 “3+3” LP. Michael McDonald and Paul Anka wrote “Dedicate This Heart”, released by Dionne Warwick on her “No Night So Long” album in 1981 and not really among her best works. Chaka Khan‘s version of “Fate” is included here as well and the album closes with Keni Burke. His take on Todd Rundgren’s “Love Is The Answer” still sounds amazing. A wonderful conclusion to another brilliant compilation from Too Slow To Disco. The album is out as a 2LP vinyl set.


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