The Complete Disco Guide to...

Shalamar

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 movie "D.C. Cab", and "Dancing in the Sheets" to the soundtrack of the 1984 movie "Footloose". 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 "Beverly 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.


DISCOGRAPHY

Classic Songs:
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

Albums:


Uptown Festival (1977)
TRACKS:   Inky Dinky Wang Dang Doo      Beautiful Night      Uptown Festival      High on Life      Ooh Baby, Baby      You Know      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 the Miracles.


Disco Gardens (1978)
TRACKS:   Tossing, Turning, and Swinging      Shalamar Disco Gardens      Take That to the Bank      Stay Close to Love      Leave It All Up to Love      Lovely Lady      Cindy, Cindy

"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      Girl

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.)
Go For It (1981)
TRACKS:   Go for It      Appeal      Final Analysis      You've Got Me Running      Sweeter as the Days Go By      Talk to Me      Good Feelings      Rocker
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.
Friends (1982)
TRACKS:   A Night to Remember      Don't Try to Change Me      Help Me      On Top of the World      I Don't Wanna be the Last to Know      Friends      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)
TRACKS:   Closer      Dead Giveaway      You Can Count on Me      Right Here      No Limits (The Now Club)      Disappearing Act      Over and Over      You're the One for Me      You Won't Miss Love (Until It's Gone)      The Look
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.
Heartbreak (1984)
TRACKS:   Amnesia      Dancing in the Sheets      Whenever You Need Me      Heartbreak      Don't Get Stopped in Beverly Hills      My Girl Loves Me      Melody (An Erotic Affair)      Deceiver
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      Games      Love's Grown Deep      Playthang      Female      Born 2 Love You      Worth Waitin 4      Imaginary Love      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!      Wake Up      Why Lead Me On      Groove Talk      All I Wanna Do      Come Together      For Sure      I'll Give U Love      I Want U      Pink Box      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)
  • 12" Collection (Unidisc, 1994)
  • Best of Shalamar (Ten Best Series) (EMI Special Markets, 2002)
  • Shalamar - Greatest Hits (Capitol, 1999)
  • The Very Best of Shalamar (Sanctuary/ZOMBA, 2001)
  • Essential Shalamar (Smd Usm/Sony, 2003)
  • A Night to Remember: Uptown Soul Classics (Sanctuary UK, 2008)
  • I Can Make You Feel Good - The Best of Shalamar (Spectrum Music, 2011)

    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 You One"
  • "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

    ALBUM TITLEMerchant 1Merchant 2Merchant 3Merchant 4
    Big Fun Amazon.com Amazon.ca iTunes
    Three for Love Amazon.com Amazon.ca iTunes
    Friends Amazon.com iTunes
    Disco Gardens Amazon.com Amazon.ca iTunes
    The Best of Shalamar Amazon.com
    The Very Best of Shalamar Amazon.com iTunes
    The Ultimate Best of Shalamar Amazon.com iTunes
    Greatest Hits Amazon.com

    MP3 DOWNLOADS:

  • Make That Move
  • This is For the Lover in You
  • I Can Make You Feel Good
  • Somewhere There's A Love
  • Dancing in the Sheets

  • Related links:

  • Official Shalamar Website
  • Bing's Old Skool and Soul Empire: Shalamar
  • Dance70: Shalamar
  • Disco Funk: Shalamar
  • Disco Museum: Jody Watley and Shalamar
  • Discogs: Shalamar
  • Songbird Promotions: Shalamar
  • Fiebre en la Ciudad: Biografia Shalamar - in Spanish
  • Disco Savvy Homepage