A few weeks ago when EJ did his OSW: Philly Soul – Vols. 1 & 2, it took me back to late summer nights in Chicago when I was sitting on my front porch listening to quiet storm late night radio. I had my trusty headphone radio (similar to the one shown above) that I had bought with the money that I had saved from my paper route. Late night radio would get mellow and the songs featured here are some of the ones I heard. The music was soulful and jazzy. There was no smooth jazz back then and on certain nights during the week, radio stations would feature a whole album of any given artist. As I dug through my music, I found that I had a lot more music from this period than I thought so I will be doing Volume 2 next week. I am sure I will be playing this later in the week while I am getting ready for the Thanksgiving holiday. Hope you have good and safe holiday and as always, enjoy your music.
The Quiet Storm – Volume 1 (listen here!)
01 – Natalie Cole – “La Costa” from Thankful (1977) – Looking back through all the wonderful music that Natalie has done, La Costa was undoubtedly one of her finer moments. It was so admired that even jazz great Ahmad Jamal recorded an instrumental version. This album was released on CD in 1996 but good luck finding a copy of it. I last saw a copy online for about $80. Hopefully, Capitol will reissue Natalie’s early albums.
02 – David Sanborn – “It’s You” from Voyeur (1981) – David lays down a serious groove on his saxophone complimented by the lush background vocals of Valerie Simpson, Patti Austin, Kacey Cisyk, and Lani Groves. David later recorded this song with Bob James on their Double Vision album in 1986.
03 – Patrice Rushen – “This Is All I Really Know” from Posh (1980) – I learned about this inspirational gem when I started buying Patrice’s albums in the 80’s. In addition to Patrice’s magic, it also features the powerhouse vocals of Lynn Davis.
04 – Pieces of a Dream – “All About Love” from Pieces of a Dream (1981) – This instrumental version of the EWF classic on Pieces of a Dreams’ debut album from 1981 was produced by their friend and mentor, sax great Grover Washington, Jr. Pieces of a Dream featured James Lloyd on keyboards, Cedric Napoleon on drums and vocals, and Curtis Harmon on drums. Founding members Lloyd and Harmon are still with the group today.
05 – Randy Crawford – “Rio de Janeiro Blues” from Secret Combination (1981) – This is one of my favorite Randy Crawford songs. Enough said.
06 – Earl Klugh – “Living Inside Your Love” from Living Inside Your Love (1976) – I recently saw Earl Klugh in concert and he played this classic which he wrote with Dave Grusin.
07 – George Benson & Aretha Franklin – “Love All The Hurt Away” from Love All The Hurt Away (1980) – This duet was definitely a favorite of the quiet storm and they sound great together.
08 – Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway – “Only Heaven Can Wait (For Love)” from Roberta Flack featuring Donny Hathaway (1980) – This song comes from one of my favorite Roberta Flack albums. It was recorded after Donny Hathaway’s death and he is featured on “You Are My Heaven.” Eric Mercury provides the additional vocals near the end of “Only Heaven Can Wait (For Love).”
09 – Joe Sample – “Burnin’ Up the Carnival” from Voices in the Rain (1981) – This was one of my favorite late night songs. It features Flora Purim and Josie James on the lead vocals. I recently saw Joe Sample in concert and he is still “Burnin’s Up the Carnival.” He can play any genre of music music exceedingly well.
10 – Brenda Russell – “So Good, So Right” from Ultimate Collection (1979) – A very gifted singer/songwriter, this was Brenda’s first solo single. In the liner notes from her Ultimate Collection compilation, she shares how she wrote this song. “I was having a dinner party. I never usually write in front of people, but I was doing dishes and the idea for ‘So Good, So Right’ came to me. I went directly to the piano and started writing this song. It became my first hit record, so I am glad I went with my instincts.” Did know that Brenda co-wrote “Please Pardon Me (You Remind Me of a Friend)”, which was recorded by Rufus & Chaka Khan, with her former husband, Brian Russell?
11 – Grover Washington, Jr. – “Winelight” from Winelight (1980) – This song is timeless. I never got to see Grover Washington, Jr. live in concert but his music definitely lives on. Crooner Kurt Elling recorded a vocalese version of this song on his Man in the Air CD in 2003.
12 – Phyllis Hyman – “Betcha by Golly, Wow” from Best of Norman Connors & Friends (1992) – Phyllis recorded this classic Thom Bell/Linda Creed ballad with Norman Connors in 1976. Every time I hear this song, I just want to melt. Her voice was like velvet and she definitely left us way too soon.
13 – Gladys Knight & The Pips – “Still Such a Thing” – from All About Love (1980) – This great ballad comes from one of the two albums (Touch in 1981) that Ashford and Simpson produced for Gladys Knight & The Pips. Other hits on this album included “Landlord”, “Bourgié Bourgié” and “Taste of Bitter Love.” Oddly enough, this album was never released on CD but several of the songs can be found on compilation albums.
14 – Ashford & Simpson – “Bourgié Bourgié” from Stay Free (1979) – It is one of the few Ashford and Simpson instrumentals and it features Valerie on piano. This was actually a disco hit. Words were added later and Gladys Knight & The Pips recorded it on their All About Love album which A&S produced in 1980.
15 – Quincy Jones – “Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You)” from Sounds…and Stuff Like That!! (1978) – This is a rich arrangement of this Stevie Wonder classic. Quincy’s goddaughter Patti Austin is featured prominently on this album. She is vocally backed here by the New York Super Singer which included Gwen Guthrie, Lani Groves, Vivian Cherry, Yolanda McCullough, Tom Bahler, Luther Vandross, Zach Sanders, Bill Eaton, and Frank Floyd. This singers like these, you definitely could not miss a beat.
16 – Leon Huff – “I Ain’t Jivin’, I’m Jammin'” from Here to Create Music (1980) – Leon Huff of Huff and Gamble penned this classic and swings a mean Hammond organ. When I played this song for a friend, he wanted to know how old I was because he said I had no business knowing about this song. Some folks knew it as a great roller skating song. I knew it as a song to used at the end of radio show for Chicago disc jockey. I also knew it as the end of night song at a couple of clubs back in the day. This week, it will be a soulful groove to help you in the kitchen as you prepare your holiday meal.