The Complete Disco Guide to...
Jeffrey Daniels (vocals, 1977-1983), Gary Mumford (vocals, 1977),
Gerald Brown (vocals, 1977-1978), Jody Watley (vocals, 1977-1984),
Howard Hewitt (vocals, 1978-1986),
Delisa Davis (vocals, 1984-1990), Micki Free (vocals, 1984-1990),
Sidney Justin (vocals, 1987-1990)
Shalamar was formed in 1976 by Soul Train's Dick Griffey and British soul
producer Simon Soussan. The first official roster of vocalists in the group
included the trio of Jody Watley, Jeffrey Daniels, and Gary Mumford, but
Gerald Brown soon replaced Mumford, and in 1978 Brown was replaced by
Howard Hewitt. In the late 1970s and early-to-mid 1980s, Shalamar enjoyed
Pop and R&B chart success in the United States and United Kingdom with
disco hits like "Take That to the Bank", "The Second Time Around", and "I
Can Make You Feel Good" and also the slow hit "This is for the Lover in
You", plus other songs like "A Night to Remember" and "Dead Giveaway".
Their records were put out by California-based Solar Records, a.k.a.
Sound of Los Angeles Records. And their songs were definitely as sunny
in sound as Los Angeles is in climate!
Like Kool and the Gang, Shalamar kept the disco sound going strong into
the early 1980s. But after 1982's stellar album
"Friends", most of the group's music became too electronic and lacked the
sparkle of the earlier releases, relying instead on typical boring
mid-1980s R&B production style. This is surprising since in the 1979-1982
period electronic sounds were introduced into the group's songs in a masterful
manner (witness the perfect merging of elements in "Right in the Socket"
and "I Can Make You Feel Good"). Daniels and Watley both departed
Shalamar by 1984 and established successful solo careers, and Delisa
Davis and Micki Free signed on as their replacements.
Shalamar contributed the song "Deadline USA" to the soundtrack of the 1983
and "Dancing in the Sheets" to the soundtrack of the 1984
They got a
Grammy nomination in 1984 for "Best R&B Group Performance" for "Dead Giveaway".
The Shalamar track "Don't Get Stopped in Beverly Hills", from the movie
Hills Cop", won a Grammy award in 1985.
Hewitt left the group in 1986 and was replaced by Sidney Justin.
The group's final two albums, "Circumstantial Evidence" (1987) and "Wake
Up" (1990), were not as popular as the earlier releases, and the group
terminated its existence at the start of the 1990s.
1977: Uptown Festival
1978: Take That to the Bank
1979: The Second Time Around, Right in the Socket, I Owe You One
1980: Make That Move, This is for the Lover in You
1981: There It Is, Go for It
1982: A Night to Remember, I Can Make You Feel Good, Friends
1983: Dead Giveaway
1984: Dancing in the Sheets, Don't Get Stopped in Beverly Hills
TRACKS: Inky Dinky Wang Dang Doo
High on Life
Ooh Baby, Baby
Forever Came Today
The 12" mix of "Uptown Festival" is an 8:46 medley of discofied 1960s
Motown classics: "Going to a Go-Go", "Sugar Pie Honey Bunch", "Uptight
(Everything's Alright)", "Stop in the Name of Love", "It's the Same Old
Song", "Tears of a Clown", "Love is Like an Itching in My Heart", "This
Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)", "Baby Love", and "(He Was) Really
Saying Something". It reached number 25 on the Billboard Pop chart in
June of 1977. The album's other disco songs are "Forever Came Today" and
the unusually-titled "Inky Dinky Wang Dang Doo".
"Oh Baby, Baby" is a cover of the 1965 hit by Smokey Robinson and
TRACKS: Tossing, Turning, and Swinging
Shalamar Disco Gardens
Take That to the Bank
Stay Close to Love
Leave It All Up to Love
"Take That to the Bank" is the best disco song on this album, and in the
United Kingdom it reached number 20 Pop (January 1979) while in the United
States it achieved number 79 Pop (also in early 1979).
The other disco songs, less worth hearing, are "Cindy, Cindy", "Shalamar
Disco Gardens", and "Tossing, Turning, and Swinging".
Big Fun (1979)
TRACKS: The Right Time for Us
Take Me to the River
Right in the Socket
The Second Time Around
I Owe You One
Let's Find the Time for Love
This is a solid album with multiple quality tracks, including 5 disco
songs ("Girl", "I Owe You One", "Right in the Socket", "The Right Time for
Us", and "The Second Time Around").
The biggest hit was "The Second Time Around", which reached number 8 on
the Billboard Pop chart in March 1980 and got to the number 1 position on
the American Disco and R&B charts. For some reason, "I Owe You One" was
the big hit from this album in Britain (#13 Pop), rather than "The Second Time
Around" (#45 Pop).
"Right in the Socket" was spun by Larry Levan at the Paradise Garage
nightclub, and it's a very good song where Jody Watley is particularly
impressive on lead with her soaring vocals. The extra percussion on "Right
in the Socket" adds a nice touch. In the 12" mix, the song sounds
very "electro 1980s" from 4:33 to 5:27, but in a good way.
Meanwhile, "Girl" is so catchy that it should have been a hit of its own!
"Take Me to the River" has a lot of funk to it.
Three for Love (1980)
TRACKS: Full of Fire
Attention to My Baby
Somewhere There's a Love
Some Things Never Change
Make That Move
This is for the Lover in You
Work It Out
Pop Along Kid
A great album with a good mix of quality ballads and up-tempo material,
produced by Leon F. Sylvers III. It was released in late 1980.
The best song here is the soul ballad "This is for the Lover in You",
which became an R&B hit and is an engagement ring song. Howard Hewitt
sings lead on it, and it has that rich orchestral sound.
There are three disco songs: "Full of Fire", "Make That Move", and "Some
Things Never Change".
"Make That Move" is a great song urging the listener to "go for it" and
give in to romance. It reached number 30 on the British Pop chart in May
1981 but didn't make the top 40 in the U.S. It was a hit in American
nightclubs, though, achieving a number 15 Disco chart position, and it
also made it to number 6 on the Billboard R&B chart.
"Full of Fire" is pretty good also, but also missed the Billboard top 40.
Spring 1981 was a particularly bad time to release a disco single in the
United States since many radio stations and record buyers no longer gave
disco a chance, and with the arrival of the Reagan era people wanted a
change. (Other artists in the same quandry during 1981 -- with plenty of
R&B fans but hardly any Pop attention for their new disco singles --
included the Brothers Johnson, GQ, and Cheryl Lynn.)
For It (1981)
TRACKS: Go for It
You've Got Me Running
Sweeter as the Days Go By
Talk to Me
The only disco song on this album is "Talk to Me".
The album as a whole is less distinguished than the other Shalamar albums
of this period. "Sweeter as the Days Go By" is a nice slow song but
lacking that special something.
TRACKS: A Night to Remember
Don't Try to Change Me
On Top of the World
I Don't Wanna be the Last to Know
Playing to Win
I Just Stopped By Because I Had To
There It Is
I Can Make You Feel Good
The disco songs here are "Friends" and "I Can Make You Feel Good", and
they incorporate both violins with electronics to great effect.
"I Can Make You Feel Good" is a tremendously good song that achieved
number 7 status on the British Pop chart in May 1982 but didn't become a
hit in the United States, where the pop music scene had sadly abandoned
the classic disco sound some months earlier.
"Friends" is a good song about friendship that lasts through both good and
bad times, but it's not as memorable as the other songs here. It reached
number 12 on the British Pop chart in 1982.
The electro-funk "There It Is" is a pleasant, upbeat song with an airy
sound in some sections, and achieved the number 5 slot on the British Pop
chart in 1982.
"A Night to Remember" is another winner, and was a big hit in the U.S. and
likewise achieved the number 5 Pop position in the U.K. in 1982.
The Look (1983)
You Can Count on Me
No Limits (The Now Club)
Over and Over
You're the One for Me
You Won't Miss Love (Until It's Gone)
The tried-and-true Shalamar sound was starting to make a "Disappearing
Act". The absence of real instruments and the gimmicky electronic
handclaps are a "Dead Giveaway". "Dead Giveaway" reached number 8 Pop in
the U.K. in 1983.
Dancing in the Sheets
Whenever You Need Me
Don't Get Stopped in Beverly Hills
My Girl Loves Me
Melody (An Erotic Affair)
Anyone who tells you this album is as good as the earlier ones is a
"Deceiver". But "Dancing in the Sheets" is a fairly good song.
Circumstantial Evidence (1987)
TRACKS: Circumstantial Evidence
Love's Grown Deep
Born 2 Love You
Worth Waitin 4
Circumstantial Evidence (Extended Version)
Heavy electronic beats, overly slick production, sounds like any other late
'80s group. The "Circumstantial Evidence" is that this album does not
match the quality of its predecessors. Was it really "Worth Waitin 4"?
Wake Up (1990)
TRACKS: Caution: This Love is Hot!
Why Lead Me On
All I Wanna Do
I'll Give U Love
I Want U
Caution: This Love is Hot! (Extended Version)
"Caution" is definitely warranted. 1990 was one of the absolute lowpoints
for popular music in the United States. The year's dance music wasn't even
danceable. Pass by this "New Jack Swing" mediocrity and stick with the
earlier albums for the real Shalamar sound.
Shalamar Compilations:Second Time Around (Castle Music/Sequel Records, 1999)
Collection (Unidisc, 1994)
of Shalamar (Ten Best Series) (EMI Special Markets, 2002)
- Greatest Hits (Capitol, 1999)
Very Best of Shalamar (Sanctuary/ZOMBA, 2001)
Shalamar (Smd Usm/Sony, 2003)
Night to Remember: Uptown Soul Classics (Sanctuary UK, 2008)
Covers of Shalamar Songs:"I Love Music" by Enigma (1981) includes a partial (23 second)
cover of "Make That Move" as the 16th song in their medley
"I Can Make You Feel Good" by Kavana (1996) - dance-pop cover
"This is for the Lover in You" by Babyface (1996)
"A Night to Remember" by 911 (1996) - boy-band pop version
"The Second Time Around" by Breeze Band (1999)
"There It Is" by 911 (1999) - boy-band pop version
"A Night to Remember" by Liberty X (2005)
Shalamar-Influenced Songs:"Go Back to School" by Extra Prolific (1994) - rap song that samples
"High on Life"
"Mosquito" by Le Knight Club (1999) - house song that samples "I Owe
"I Submit 2 U" by Mustafa (2001) - garage house song that samples
"Take That to the Bank"
"There It Is" by Undercover Joe (2003) - house song that reworks
"There It Is"
"Just Vibin'" by Undercover Joe (2003) - spoken-word disco-house
song that samples "Take it to the Bank"
HOW TO ORDER YOUR FAVORITE SHALAMAR SONGS
is For the Lover in You
There's A Love
in the Sheets
Official Shalamar Website
Bing's Old Skool
and Soul Empire: Shalamar
Jody Watley and Shalamar
en la Ciudad: Biografia Shalamar - in Spanish
Disco Savvy Homepage