Monday, 9 February 2009

Eddie Kendricks - Goin' Up In Smoke - 1976 - Tamla

Eddie Kendricks. The sound of Philadelphia. Yes, a match made in heaven. Norman Harris and his Harris Machine was more than sympathetic to the tenors of the day and Motown were not afraid to pass many of their latest and greatest through the revolving doors at Sigma Sound Studios. This explosive collaboration in 1976 was mainly written as a collaboration with Norman Harris, Allan Felder, Ron Kersey and Phil Hurtt so you will not need a Masters Degree to know what flavour this album has. Personally, I love this album and it's simply a match made in heaven. The title track is a fantastic effort and rates as one of Eddie's best in my own humble opinion. The uptempo groove complete with strings and horns has, unsurprisingly, refrains of earlier dance rhythms of the 20s, and I defy anyone not to love this track. The dramtic nature of the album is not only set by the depressing tone of the album sleeve but by the moody orchestration, especially on melancholic and fact-facing tracks such as "The Newness Is Gone"; this being replaced by the more uplifting and lighter "Sweet Tenderoni". Didn't take him long to find someone else did it? If only it was like that in real life! Lol.

If irresistable grooves that carry you along are your cup of tea then the excellent "Born Again" will do nothing but put a smile on your face, and a spring in your step. Superb. This is positive and uplifting soul music, no more, no less. Indeed "Do You Want Light" almost meanders into Van McCoy territory, which is certainly no crime in my book. The racing and frantic "Thanks For The Memories" will also win you over, as should the gorgeously orchestrated "To You From Me". No matter how low you are feeling, the sound of Philadelphia always manages to bring me back to life. Some may brush this material aside, but that would be short sighted and wrong. It's always sounded good and with a lot of today's inspirational house music reaching back to the roots of Philly International a wwealth of tenors such as Kenny Bobien and Byron Stingley are not only creating great NEW music in a classic style, but it keeps the Philly flame burning forever strong. An essential album, as are most albums from Eddie, and available via Amazon on the superb Motown Solo Albums collections.