Friday, March 17, 2017

Edgar Winter - 1979 - The Edgar Winter Album

Edgar Winter
The Edgar Winter Album

01. It's Your Life to Live
02. Above and Beyond
03. Take It the Way It Is
04. Dying to Live
05. Please Don't Stop
06. Make It Last
07. Do What
08. It Took Your Love to Bring Me Out
09. Forever in Love

Keith Errol Benson Drums
Tom Moulton Producer
Craig Snyder Guitar
Larry Washington Percussion
James Williams Bass
James "D-Train" Williams Bass
Jimmy Williams Bass
Edgar Winter Keyboards, Saxophone, Vocals

Edgar Winter reworks one of his best old songs, "Dying to Live," and dishes up a handful of new tunes to round out a fairly good album. "It Took Your Love" and "Forever in Love" highlight the record, which, although it doesn't measure up to his prior efforts, still manages to put forth some good vibes.

To my ears 'The Edgar Winter Album' (recorded in 1979) is the singer most fully realized,best produced,well crafted and enjoyable albums Winter ever released.Every song is superbly sung and will have you singing along for hours after hearing it.Winter obviously decided that in the late 70's he didn't want to be that commercial anymore.So instead of cranking out more Southern rock anthems like "Free Ride" he put his energy into his interest in R&B,funk and jazz.Here he discovers how the new style of disco funk and the use of electronic keyboards can punch up his sound a lot.So instead of going by commercial considerations that said rock musicians sound avoid anything smacking of disco,Edgar Winter abruptly decides to fully integrate it into his sound.It doesn't seem that Winter's interest in disco rhythms stem from any need to sell out to the radio of the day-he always uses the rhythms in a purely artistic fasion and the production on the uptempo tunes is devoid of cheesy disco strings or anything like that,but still has a nice glossy sheen.It's also devoid of any interludes of hard rock or blues-it's all pure vocal funk,R&B and some disco.But for almost 99.9 % of the time more funk oriented disco-more in a class with Heatwave then Love & Kisses.Vocally speaking Winter doesn't feel the need to scream the vocals as he sometimes did before.Instead he explores his what well over four octave vocal range in far more elegant ways,such as jumping into a mildly Bee Gee's/Philip Bailey type falsetto in parts of some of the songs."It's Your Way To Live" is a great song through a through-a catchy,dancable slice of disco soul with some great sax and backup singers."Please Don't Stop" takes the funky disco sound and pushes the one to the limit "disco inferno" style!Now "Above And Beyond" and "Take It The Way It Is"?Those two are monsters that punch you right out with the snappy sound and big fat keyboards.And the former was the albums only chart hit (peaking at #94 pop-how cruel for such a kicking song).And "Do What"-well that just gets deep-Winter turns the groove up and mixes it hot with his spirited sax playing on a mighty instrumental.Besides once those handclaps get going at the very beginning you know the tune won't lose.But as with Edgar Winter's musical beliefs he is an experimentalist-this album is based somewhat in disco but he explores all subgenre's of it-the two most well crafted and catchiest tunes here "Make It Last" and "It Took Your Love To Bring Me Out" owe a lot to two sources-the spirited Gamble & Huff dance-soul sound and Tom Moulton,who produced Grace Jones's first three albums as well as this one.But unlike with Jones Winter,not Moulton is the star of the show and as such Winter avoids the disco clishes that Moulton forced upon Jones and makes use of Winter's natural funkiness.Even on the dynamic remake of "Dying To Live" and the spirited other ballad on this album "Forever In Love" Winter arranges the orchestra and gives the sound his own personal stamp through and through.The sound is so full in fact it's hard to believe that only a quartet backed him up on this album.'The Edgar Winter Album' likely sold pretty well but it never got the kind of recognition that his records with The Edgar Winter Group or White Trash (even the previous release-the terrific funk album 'Recycled') and remained out of print for years until Wounded Bird came to the rescue.Critics likely reviled Winter along with The Stones,Rod Stewart,Elton John and even former Winter bandmate Dan Hartman for riding the disco train until it derailed.But disco's influence baught out the best and most consistant album of Edgar's career on this one.And even though 'The Edgar Winter Album' isn't a full flegded four-on-the-floor disco album from start to finish it is completely devoted to R&B,pop and dance funk and opened up a whole new area for Edgar Winter's sound to grow and expand.But if you,as I can't get enough of that late 70's synth-dance-funk sound then 'The Edgar Winter Album' is something that is a must for your music collection!

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