Thanks for the understanding most of you have had for the loss of my partner. The situation was unexpected and has not been easy, but I am better. I have been very busy since, with the aftermath and work, so I really haven't had the time or desire to post here. But I do check occasionally and will try to update requested links when I get a chance. No idea when or if I'll get to new posts, but you never know. He did support this blog, so maybe I'll get back to it. Thanks for your patience.

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, April 1, 2016

Abstrac' - Abstrac' (1989) and M&M - Get Ta Know Ya Betta (1992) DOUBLE POST!!

Recently I downloaded the 12" single mixes of the song "Right And Hype" by R&B trio Abstrac'.  I had not heard the song in a very long time and was surprised by how good it was.  I was curious to hear the album again, so I searched furiously through my collection and finally located the CD.  One listen convinced me that I had to share it on the Isle.  The trio consisted of Alvina "Topaz" Del Bettis, Mary Brown and Marsha McClurkin, and was formed by Gene Griffin and Teddy Riley. In the late 80's, Griffin and Riley started perfecting what would become known as the New Jack Swing sound, which took the popular-at-the-time pop-funk R&B sound of producers like L.A. Reid & Babyface and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and gave it a more street sound, mainly by adding hip hop flourishes.  Encouraged by their extremely successful collaboration with Johnny Kemp, "Just Got Paid", they started working, both separately and together, with different acts.  The first all-female act that they worked with together was Abstrac'.  (Riley had had experience producing another female trio the previous year on the track "Wishing You Were Here" by The Gyrlz.) The three ladies of Abstrac' were unknowns, yet they managed to get an album deal with Reprise Records.  The self-titled album was mainly written and produced by Griffin along with Riley's brother Markell, with three tracks written and produced by another New Jack pioneer, Bernard Belle.  Riley focused on the keyboards, mixing and arranging.  The first single was "Right And Hype", and it managed to dent the Billboard Hot 100 at #89. A promo was released for the second single, "You Are The Party (I Am The Fun)," but it failed to make an impact and the group was dropped.  However, three years later, Marsha and Mary reemerged as the duo M&M and released the album Get Ta Know Ya Betta on Atlantic Records.  By now the New Jack sound was in full swing (pun intended) and while Abstrac' had still held on to the dance-funk sound, M&M was full on New Jack R&B. The ladies also had a lot more involvement in the writing of the album's material, along with its main producer, Herb Middleton. Unfortunately for the ladies, their new incarnation was even less successful and their two singles, "Talk To Me" (which was remixed by Markell Riley) and the album's title track, floundered on the charts and they were again dropped from a major label. (As a side note, two of the ladies from the aforementioned trio The Gyrlz also later formed a New Jack duo a year later, Terri & Monica, and they were moderately more successful. Perhaps they will be featured in the Isle at some point in the future...) The writing experience on the M&M album ended up being a godsend for Mary Brown, however, as she later found great success as a songwriter, most notably with Destiny's Child's "No No No". Fortunately I have been meaning to feature the M&M album for a couple years now and had it on hand, so when I unearthed the Abstrac' album I thought it was finally time to share it with you all as well, and therefore I've presented them together. Enjoy!

Video for Right And Hype

Download Abstrac'

1 Lookin' Out For #1
2 I'll Be Your Friend
3 Sleaze
4 Right And Hype
5 Make Me Sweat
6 Strategy
7 Trust Me
8 Buggin' Over You
9 You're My Kind Of Guy
10 You Are The Party (I Am The Fun)

Download Get Ta Know Ya Betta

1 Feel No Shame
2 We're Falling Apart
3 Talk To Me
4 Never Let Go
5 My Way
6 Get Ta Know Ya Betta
7 Losin' Control
8 If I Give My Love To You
9 Go On
10 You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling

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