.. Quincy Jones - "Somethin' Special" (A&M 1981)
Bobby Lyle -
"Inner Space" (Capitol 1978)
Should've been a single, possibly acknowledged as such by its placement on a couple Q anthologies, "Somethin' Special" had the misfortune of being on an album with four major singles. "Just Once," the biggest hit, should still come in handy if you have to make a slow-motion highlight reel for a second-place sports team. "Ai No Corrida" stole some of the thunder from Chas Jankel's superior and proto-Basement Jaxx original, released the year before on the same label. "Razzamatazz" fared surprisingly well for resembling a merely decent extended/alternate breakdown of the Brothers Johnson's "Stomp!" (which involved some of the same personnel, like songwriting demon Rod Temperton... but we'll get to him later and often). And the appeal of "One Hundred Ways" is something your dentist might be able to explain, as I am not equipped. All of these songs went to the top 20 of the Black Singles chart.
"Somethin' Special," by some distance The Dude's greatest highlight, would have to be included in a list of the top ten songs involving the combination of Rod Temperton, Patti Austin and Quincy Jones, though George Benson's "Give Me the Night" and Austin's "Love Me to Death" would probably place above it. The song's effect is reflected by the line "Got me dreamin', feelin' lighter than the air," with kneequakes provided by Austin, spare electric-piano fillips from Herbie Hancock and bass gallops from Louis Johnson. Temperton's lyrics, as usual, aren't that
much more than functional, but they sound like genius when they come wrapped in his untouchable hooks. (Hear also: "Boogie Nights," "Star of a Story," "Off the Wall," "Rock With You," "Love X Love" and -- fuck it -- "Sweet Freedom," for starters, along with about 100 others.)
(Before I die, I will write 10K words about Rod Temperton.)
"Inner Space" is a tangent, like nothing else on Bobby Lyle's New Warrior. Going by the other two Lyle albums I have from the same period, there's nothing like it in the remainder of his catalog. A still-active pianist/keyboardist who has been involved with Young-Holt Unlimited, Sly & the Family Stone, Pharoah Sanders, and Phyllis Hyman, Lyle took an opportunity here to layer ARPs and Moogs and other synthesizers with some hand gongs. The result seriously messes with my head. I mean seriously
. Nine years ago, Lyle was the musical director for Bette Midler's HBO special Diva Las Vegas (and received an Emmy nomination for it).
The files will be taken out of circulation in a week, or possibly sooner if someone related to them objects. Doubt Beat's audioblog form
has been dormant for months now [actually, it's active now -- ed.]
, so the remaining energy might as well be redirected here whenever the mood strikes.