My sister blog, Lost Pop Treasures, is back in action! Check it out!!

If you wish to download an album off of this blog and the link is dead, please request it either in the comments or the Chat Box and I will reupload it as soon as possible. :)

And don't forget to follow the Isle on Facebook and Twitter!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Alison Limerick - And Still I Rise (1992), With A Twist (1994) & Spirit Rising (1998) TRIPLE POST!!!

As it's been awhile since my last post, I'm hitting you with yet another triple post!  This time I'm featuring house diva Alison Limerick.  Alison was born in London and at first set out to be a dancer, even attending the London Contemporary School of Dance.  But her strong, soulful voice couldn't be denied and soon she was an in demand backing singer.  Her first major gig was backing vocals on Style Council's "Shout To The Top" in 1984.  Through the rest of the 80s and early 90s she made vocal appearances on songs by an eclectic array of alternative artists such as Peter Murphy, The Icicle Works, Ultravox and This Mortal Coil, on whose albums she took lead on several tracks like "Nature's Way" and "Drugs".  During this time she also began working with producer and songwriter Lati Kronlund.  Kronlund had written a house song that he thought Alison's voice would be perfect for, and "Where Love Lives" was born.  Released in 1990 on Arista, the song became a huge club hit, thanks in large part to the remix by Frankie Knuckles and David Morales.  In 1991, it reached #3 on the Billboard dance chart and #27 on the UK singles chart.  This led to an album deal with Arista, but the second single, "Come Back (For Real Love)", was less successful, only reaching #53 on the UK pop chart. She did almost make the top 40 again that year with a collaboration with Malcolm McLaren, "Magic's Back". And the next single from her album, "Make It On My Own", was another chart hit, reaching #6 on the Billboard dance chart and #16 on the UK chart.  But the album was not released in the US, and the follow-up singles "Hear My Call" and "Gettin' It Right" were only minor chart hits in the UK. Undaunted, Alison began to work on new music.  While her next single, "Time Of Our Lives", failed to chart, her remake of Evelyn "Champagne" King's "Love Come Down" managed to hit the UK top 40 at #36, and her second album was released in 1994, with Frankie Knuckles behind the production of most of it.  It wasn't successful enough for the label to keep her, alas. She kept busy over the following few years by contributing vocals and lyrics to acid jazz group Vibraphonic, and had another minor UK hit with the James Taylor Quartet, "Love Will Keep Us Together". Then, in 1996, "Where Love Lives" was re-released with new mixes, and became an even bigger hit, reaching #4 on the Billboard dance chart and #9 on the UK pop chart.  Then "Make It On My Own" was re-released and reached #30 on the UK chart.  This led to another album with an indie label in 1998, and the preceding single. "Put Your Faith In Me", just missed the top 40 in the UK.  None of the follow up singles - "Never Knew", "Let's Hold On (To Love)" and "Spirit Rising", managed to chart, however.  And though she has not released a proper album since, Alison has kept very busy with music, collaborating on singles with, among others, X-Press 2, And If, Ringleader and Ikon, as well as extensive touring.  And in 2003, "Where Love Lives" appeared on the charts yet again thanks to new remixes, reaching #16 on the Billboard dance charts and #44 on the UK pop chart, proving you can't keep a good song down.  Expect it to 'live' again on the charts in the near future.  You can keep up with Alison via her Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Video for Where Love Lives

Video for Make It On My Own

Video for Gettin' It Right

Video for Come Back (For Real Love)

Download And Still I Rise

1 Make It On My Own
2 Gettin' It Right
3 Where Love Lives (Come On In)
4 Hear My Call
5 Trouble
6 Come Back (For Real Love)
7 Tell Me What You Mean
8 Let's Make A Memory
9 You And I
10 The Difference Is You

Video for Time Of Our Lives

Video for Love Come Down

Download With A Twist

1 Time Of Our Lives
2 Love Come Down
3 Twisted
4 No Way Out
5 Crime To Be That Cool
6 So Long
7 Sentimental
8 Buck The System
9 Take It Back
10 Let's Just Pretend
11 Build Your Love
12 Unique
13 Come Home

Video for Put Your Faith In Me

Video for Let's Hold On (To Love)

Download Spirit Rising

1 Spirit Rising
2 Never Knew
3 Let's Hold On (To Love)
4 Put Your Faith In Me
5 How Happy
6 Stronger Love
7 So Far So Good
8 Dangerous Game
9 Take It Easy
10 It's Getting Better (This Could Be Good)

Bonus Tracks
11 Never Knew (Joe T. Vanelli Classic Mix)
12 Put Your Faith In Me (Peppermint Jam Faith Club Mix)
13 Let's Hold On To Love (Metro Mix)
14 Where Love Lives (Ruff Driverz Full Vocal Mix)

Friday, August 1, 2014

Taja Sevelle - Taja Sevelle (1987), Fountains Free (1991) & Toys Of Vanity (1997) TRIPLE POST!!!

I have loved Taja Sevelle from the very start of her career and have enjoyed all of her musical explorations.  I've wanted to feature her here for years, but at one time Taja was offering her albums on her website so I resisted out of respect.  However, someone recently requested her work, and I checked her website and the albums are no longer available there, and they don't seem to be available digitally either, so I thought it was time to share her amazing music.  As her biography is available on her website, I'll give the condensed version.  She was born Nancy Richardson in Minneapolis.  While working in the health food industry and farming, she also pursued music, fronting several local jazz and R&B bands and also working as a radio producer and DJ.  She was accepted at the Berklee College Of Music, but passed when Minneapolis' most famous citizen, Prince, offered her a record deal with his vanity label, Paisley Park, which was distributed through Reprise Records. She had previously done background vocals on his track "The Ladder" in 1985, and obviously this impressed him enough to sign her to a solo deal.  Hooking up with Minneapolis musician Chico Bennett (aka George Bennette), she created an album that incorporated the red hot Minneapolis sound, but with her own folksy, hippiesque vibe. Her first single, the self-penned ballad "Love Is Contagious," became a huge hit in Europe, reaching #7 on the UK charts, and a modest hit in the US, reaching #62 on the Billboard Hot 100. It remains one of my favourite ballads ever.  She followed it up with the funky Prince-penned "Wouldn't You Love To Love Me," but it only managed to reach the middle of the UK Pop and Billboard R&B charts.  Follow-up singles "Popular" and "Take Me For A Ride" failed to chart.  Paisley Park's run would soon end, but Taja stuck with Reprise, and four years later released her second album, Fountains Free.  While Bennett still produced a few tracks (and would go on to work with superstars like Lady GaGa, Katy Perry and Justin Timberlake), she also worked with various other R&B and pop producers, most prominently pop producer du jour Ian Prince and the legendary Burt Bacharach.  As a result, the album was much more pop-oriented, but the direction didn't seem to work, as the only single, "Trouble Having You Near," did not chart.  For awhile it seemed that was the end of Taja's musical career, but six years later she surprised her fans by signing with 550 Music and releasing the album Toys Of Vanity.  This time she worked with producer R.J. Rice (of R.J.'s Latest Arrival fame) and she delved deeply into the trip hop sound that was hot at the time.  No doubt she didn't expect the album to become a huge pop hit, but she released the singles "I & I" and "A Lot Like You" to critical acclaim. Personally I was thrilled to discover the album a couple years later, as I was a huge trip hop fan.  During the recording of the album in Detroit, Taja was struck by all of the poverty there.  This led to her greatest passion, the founding of Urban Farming, which encourages people in cities to grow their own food on unused land, and the group helped to plant vegetable gardens around the world for those in need.  Though she has also written books, acted, and even patented her own invention, Urban Farming has remained her passion, and she has made more of a name for herself in this respect than from her music, having appeared on numerous television shows, including Ellen.  But she has still managed to release new music, including the underground house music hits "Never Givin' Up" in 2000 and a remake of The Rolling Stones' "Sympathy For The Devil" in 2003.  She also independently released the Good Times EP in 2004 and continues to occasionally independently release various singles on her e-store.  I have had the pleasure of corresponding with her on her blog and Facebook page, and I can tell you that her personality is as sweet as her voice and her conscience.
Urban Farming
Berklee College of Music
Berklee College of Music
Berklee College of Musi

Video for Love Is Contagious

Video for Wouldn't You Love To Love Me

Video for Popular

Download Taja Sevelle

1 Love Is Contagious
2 Wouldn't You Love To Love Me?
3 Popular
4 How Could You Do Me So Bad?
5 Take Me For A Ride
6 If I Could Get Your Attention
7 Infatuation
8 Baby's Got A Lover
9 Mama 16
10 Fly For Your Painted Rainbow

Download Fountains Free

1 Trouble Having You Near
2 Chase Temptation
3 I'm Givin' In
4 Even Odd You
5 Fountains Free
6 The Power Of Your Love (You And I)
7 Perpetual Motion
8 What A State Of Love
9 Fierce Desire
10 Forever In Love
11 Died Alive
12 Trouble Having You Near (Radio Mix)
   
Video for I & I

Download Toys Of Vanity

1 I & I
2 Us
3 Wake Before I Die
4 A Lot Like You
5 I Feel
6 Killing Time
7 Making Love To The Air
8 Fleet Of Angels
9 Toys Of Vanity
10 Sub-Conscious Me
11 Why?
12 Fleet Of Angels (No Drums)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

PAL - Truth For The Moment (1986)

Four years ago I posted the one and only single. "Talk We Don't", from 1980s funk/synth pop trio PAL on Lost Pop Treasures.  I have had their album on my wantlist ever since, and finally I have it to share, thanks to longtime Isle friend Robert G! :)  And it is every bit as good as I'd hoped, definitely something different from the "R&B" girl groups of the time.  PAL was Rebecca A. Sweet (aka Rebekha Sweet) and sisters Lanetta and Laretta Collier (aka Sinden and Rhett Cellier).  Luckily two thirds of PAL themselves saw my post on Lost Pop Treasures and filled us in on their past (which I've since also shared on Discogs), so I'll simply just repost that here.  Enjoy!

PAL's musical influences included Eurythmics, Sting, Joni Mitchell, Steve Winwood, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac... Most notably, it was Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) who telephoned Motown and inquired about the group after meeting them at an Eurythmics concert. He had assumed that PAL was already signed to Motown and upon being told they were not, asked "Why."  The group's name was inspired by "Pal" Shazar of Slow Children as it aptly represented the relationship of the members of the group.  PAL's music was only released in Europe as it was welcomed by the European licensees who had been anxiously awaiting a new fresh sound from Motown.  PAL's CD was somewhat altered from their original sound and true musical instincts, but they were lucky enough to maintain some elements true to their musical integrity as was showcased in "Talk We Don't." Simply told, PAL was not an" R&B" group but the record company enlisted the services of a Motown producer attempting to infuse R&B into their music in hopes of serving the American R&B base. This approach was again exercised in Motown's 12 inch remixes of "Talk We Don't" down-playing the breathing drums that were an integral part of the song's original music.  In January 1986, PAL embarked upon a promotional tour at the request of Motown's European licensees. The official video for the single "Talk We Don't" was produced in London utilizing the original track. PAL was told that their single at that time was the highest debuting single by any new group in Holland. PAL toured England, France, Spain, Germany, Holland and Belgium. They loved it!
Upon returning to the U.S., Motown was still at a loss as what to do with PAL. Even though the music had been so positively accepted abroad, America was not Europe. Motown never released PAL's music in America and this freed the group from any further recording obligations to Motown.  Around 1988, PAL disbanded and went on to lead very successful lives in other creative genres.

Here is a live performance of Talk We Don't

Download Truth For The Moment

1 Man About Town
2 Like It
3 Her Husband
4 On The Edge
5 Everybody's Nasty
6 Panic
7 Talk We Don't
8 Spellbound
9 Strange Dreams
10 Checkin' You Out

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

E Gee - E Gee (1996)

Thanks to a request, I recently became aware of E Gee.  I had never heard of her and was intrigued.  Unfortunately, after MUCH internet searching, I still know nothing about her. I did manage to find her album online, however, and just received it and had to share, as always.  The most that I can tell you is that she released one single, "Butterfly Me", the video for which was produced by actor Blair Underwood and got some play on BET.  And the album was produced and co-written by Motown creator Berry Gordy's son Kerry.  Despite video play, "Butterfly Me", a mid-tempo R&B number, did not become a hit.  There are a few other mid-tempo R&B tracks on the album, as well as a few upbeat dance songs like "I've Gotta Dance" and a remake of The Supremes classic "You Keep Me Hangin' On". And the remix of "Butterfly Me" is also an upbeat hip-house tune, which includes male rappers and, oddly, not even a hint of E Gee's vocals.  Unfortunately the CD I ordered did not come with the booklet, which I failed to notice until after I placed my order.  If it had, I'm sure I would have discovered some useful information in it in order to find out more about E Gee.  But since it didn't, we are all left in the dark regarding E Gee's story, unless someone else, perhaps E Gee herself, come across this post and kindly fills us in.  Until then, enjoy!

Download E Gee

1 Butterfly Me
2 I Can't Turn You Down
3 Warm And Wet
4 Butterfly Me (Belizian Interlude)
5 Up And Down
6 Up And Down (Interlude)
7 You Keep Me Hangin' On
8 Down And Dirty
9 I've Gotta Dance
10 Butterfly Me (Da Lo Rex Remex)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Precious - Soft But Hard (1990)

In case you haven't guessed, I'm a huge fan of female rappers.  And it just so happens that someone requested the only album by Precious, so here it is.  As with many of the other 90s female rappers featured on the Isle, little is available on Precious' history.  Her real name is Monica Burton, and it would appear that she's from New Jersey.  At some point she connected in New Jersey with the trio of producers collectively known as Backroom Productions, who wrote and produced most of Isle postee Jomanda's music.  In 1988 Backroom Productions had released a compilation of house tracks that included vocals by the ladies of Jomanda before they were a group, as well as the instrumental song "The Definition Of A Track (The Backroom)".  Evidently, they asked Precious to put a rap vocal on the instrumental, making it a hip-house track, and also made a new instrumental using the same rap and called it "In Motion", which is one of my fave house songs of all time, incidentally.  The double A-side of Precious' "Definition Of A Track / In Motion" was released on Big Beat in 1989 and was a dancefloor smash (the album version begins with "Definition Of A Track" and leads into "In Motion").  It's success led to a one album deal on Big Beat.  Backroom Productions produced the whole thing, and the hip-house song "Let's Get It Started" was the only other single released, backed with "Competition" (which samples M's "Pop Muzik") in the US, and released by itself on MCA Records in the UK.  The album contained a much more traditional rap sound, with only a few hip-house moments, which was perhaps not the best idea.  "Let's Get It Started" failed to make the same impact, and that was the last that was heard from Precious.  Monica, now known as Dr. Burton, appears to have left her music career behind, as she is now a principle at the Patrick F. Healy Middle School in East Orange, New Jersey.  She is also on the board of managers for the East Orange YMCA.  Given the comments in reviews of her school and on the video for "In Motion" on Youtube, she doesn't appear to be beloved by her students or their parents, though to be fair, being a principle of any school isn't exactly a beloved role.  And at least we can all show her love by enjoying and appreciating her one and only musical masterpiece.

Video for In Motion

Download Soft But Hard

1 The Beats The Rhyme (The Bassline)
2 Soft But Hard
3 Competition
4 Protect The Jewel
5 27 Hawthorne
6 Lets Get It Started
7 Definition Of A Track (In Motion)
8 Power Of A Woman
9 Spenizm
10 Who Are You
11 Yesterday's Gone
12 Big Beat
13 A Better Way
14 Yesterday's Gone (Sax Version)
15 Big Beat (Vocal)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Nerissa - Nerissa (1993)

Recently I rewatched the controversial Ken Russell film Whore, and on second viewing, I liked the movie much less, but noticed the background music, which included some house cuts that I had never heard before.  A bit of searching revealed that the songs were by artists who were signed to Select Records, one of whom was Nerissa.  The name was familiar and I recalled that I had the cassingle of Nerissa's funky remake of the Dramatics' hit ballad "In The Rain".  I then remembered that it indicated on that cassingle that the song came from Nerissa's self-titled album.  I had never managed to find that album - until now!  Nerissa Vitello is a New York based singer.  I can't find much on her background, other than that she was a music/voice major at Laguardia School of the Arts in the 1980s.  This led to her house song from the Whore soundtrack, "Tell Me All Your Secrets", which was Nerissa's first single in 1990 on Active Records, a sublabel of Select.  Her next single, "In The Rain", didn't appear until 1993, with her self-titled album soon following.  "In The Rain" was produced by house music legend Todd Terry, but instead of being an upbeat house number, it had a laid back R&B vibe.  The remix, featuring rapper Ski, got some attention.  But the single wasn't the best representation of the album, which was mostly upbeat house tunes with a few slower R&B numbers, including a remake of Randy Crawford's classic "Almaz".  Her next single was the house stomper "Stars", which returned her to dance floors, and the song has popped up on house compilations ever since.  But it failed to reach past the dance market, and no other singles were released, though her track "The Cure", another more downbeat Todd Terry production, did pop up on the House Party 3 soundtrack. It seems that since then Nerissa has continued to perform, as her StarNow profile indicates appearances in supporting roles in film and music, and there are also a couple of recent Youtube videos of her performing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" at private functions.  Let's hope she hits the studio again soon!

Video for In The Rain (Remix)

Download Nerissa

1 The Cure
2 Stars
3 Where Do We Go From Here
4 Show Me Love
5 Nothing Can Come Between Us
6 In The Rain
7 Memories Of Love
8 Go On Get Out
9 Night And Day
10 Almaz (You Lucky, Lucky Thing)
11 In The Rain (Remix)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Jacci McGhee ‎– Jacci McGhee (1992)

Jacci McGhee's brief time in the spotlight came as a result of being Keith Sweat's singing partner on his R&B hit "Make It Last Forever" in 1988.  Born in the Bronx, Jacci mostly did back-up vocals until Keith decided to feature her voice front and centre.  Despite the feature, Jacci went back to the background, mainly as vocal support for rock group Toto.  She did get another coup on the charts in 1989, singing the chorus to Salt-N-Pepa's second top 40 hit, "Expression".  It would be three more years before she would get a solo deal, when MCA signed her.  Her first single, the upbeat "Skeeza", was produced by Salt-N-Pepa's producer Herby Luv Bug and was a minor R&B hit.  It's follow-up, the ballad "It Hurts Me", was produced by Keith Sweat - as were a couple other songs on the album - and it climbed a little higher.  The final single was another upbeat number, "Something's On My Mind", but it didn't chart and she was dropped.  She was pregnant at the time and spent the next few years raising her child.  Then, in 1998, she joined funk/soul group The Family Stand, replacing their female vocalist Sandra St. Victor.  I personally loved that group and was happy to hear that she had joined.  They released only one album with Jacci, however, and after their single "You Don't Have To Worry" failed to generate interest, she split from the group. According to member Peter Lord, Jacci and he never saw eye to eye, as she was hoping to go in a more rock direction, likely stoked by her time with Toto.  Jacci again disappeared from the limelight, but about a year ago she left hints around the internet that she was working with a new act called "Billy Scott the band".  Not sure what, if anything, that band is up to, as nothing has emerged since, but it is good to know that Jacci is still at it.  Her one album displays a voice that definitely has a rock swagger and needs to be heard, and it shows her diversity over dance, soul and new jack swing tastiness. She was definitely head and shoulders above her contemporaries and deserved better.

Video for Skeeza

Video for It Hurts Me

Download Jacci McGhee

1 Something's On My Mind
2 It Hurts Me
3 Skeeza
4 Good Old Fashioned Love
5 The Closer I Get To You
6 What R U Gonna Do?
7 Been A Long Time
8 The Other Woman
9 Denied
10 That's How Much I Love You

Friday, May 9, 2014

MC Peaches - More Than Just A Pretty Face (1991)

It seems that 1991 was a banner year for female rappers on major labels, although ones that didn't quite hit with the mainstream.  On this blog alone we have featured Tam Tam, Missy Mist, Icy Blu, Tycie & Woody, and Princessa of Bingoboys, who all managed to release only one album, all in 1991.  The female rap boom at this time was obviously due to the late 80s success of acts like Salt 'N' Pepa, J.J. Fad, Queen Latifah and MC Lyte, among others.  Every label wanted to have the next big lady of hip hop.  To that end, EastWest Records signed MC Peaches, a rapper from Brooklyn.  Previously she had released one single, the double-sided "Commin Straight Rollin Hard / Treat Her Like A Lady" in 1988.  The latter was produced by one of hip hop's heavyweights, King Of Chill, who had also produced MC Lyte, and rap duo Audio Two, and this association, along with Peaches' tough but feminine rap, garnered her respect in the hip hop community.  The same producers worked on her album, though the result was quite a bit less 'street' than her debut single.  The first and only single was "Every Breath You Take (Watching You)", which was obviously based on the pop hit by The Police. It was not a hit, and several other tracks utilized bits of other pop hits like John Waite's "Missing You", and Rose Royce's "Love Don't Live Here Anymore". The result was an album that was likely too pop for hip hop fans, and too hip hop for pop fans.  What became of Peaches after that is as mysterious as where she came from, since, like Tam Tam, there is virtually nothing about her on the internet, and it doesn't help that there are several other ladies of hip hop who use the moniker of Peaches.  MC Peaches, please hit us up if you see this and fill us in!

Download More Than Just A Pretty Face

1 She's Not Just Another Woman
2 More Than Just A Pretty Face
3 Every Breath You Take (Watching You)
4 Dope Is How It's Done
5 I'mma Let You Know
6 Love Don't Live Here Anymore
7 Fellas Gather Round
8 Good Thing
9 (This track has been removed from the download file thanks to a complaint regarding the copyright of the Queen song sampled)
10 Keep It In Your Pants, Tucked Away
11 I'm Not Missing You
12 Crowd Pleaser
13 Jo Ann - Outro

Friday, May 2, 2014

Gloo Girls - Attention Shoppers (1993)

Time for a change of pace - a little punk pop, and a rarity at that.  Everything you need to know about Gloo Girls you can find on their Facebook page.  The edited version is as follows:  The band was formed in 1991 in New York City's East Village by Beatrice “Patty Gloo” Giovaniello and Karen “Sage LeWho?” LeSage.  Patty owned a clothing store called Gloo People and Sage, a clothing designer, collaborated with her on fashion.  They were dubbed Gloo Girls and soon moved towards music.  Patty played bass and Karen played guitar, but she soon learned to play drums instead, and they recruited Georgia "Miss Georgia Peach" Connelly to play guitar.  In 1992 they released the single "Yo Blondie / Barbie U.S.A." on an indie punk label out of California.  Soon after, Georgia split and the ever-ambitious Patty and Sage moved their business to Soho, where they also began selling vintage furniture and running an all-female moving company, Amazon Movers.  The moving company, along with their glamorous 50s/60s inspired look, got them media attention (they were even featured in the National Enquirer and on American Journal).  They became a sensation in New York and finally recorded and released an album in 1993 on pioneering label Celluloid.  After going through a slew of guitar players, all christened "Guitara", they found one that stuck, Nicole "Guitara Seven" Kennedy, and they toured the US for some time before eventually calling it quits.  Since they split, Beatrice has worked as an interior designer in New York, Karen is an artist in Connecticut, and Nicole teaches and records music in Estonia(!!).  Though they were influenced by other punky pop groups like Lunachicks and Redd Kross, their sound was uniquely their own, very 60s girl group meets surfer rock, with an edge.  The sound would be revived in the late 90s/early 00s by groups like Chicks On Speed and Le Tigre, though with a more electronic flavour.  In fact, it was my love for those groups that made me seek out Gloo Girls, and I'm glad that I found them.  I think you will be too.  

Video for Barbie U.S.A.

Live performance at the Lions Den, NYC 

Download Attention Shoppers

1 Witch Is Witch
2 X-Con
3 On The Avenue
4 Meow
5 Hi Ya
6 Do The Gloo
7 Damn Hippies
8 Yo Blondie
9 Barbie U.S.A.
10 Don't Eat My Planet