Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Heaven & Earth – I Really Love You

Most Wanted! Heaven & Earth – I Really Love You (WMOT)

Chicago band Heaven & Earth had the potential to become superstars. Instead of that, and for various reasons, they sadly remained in the unsung category. The outstanding ‘I Really Love You’ pretty much summarizes what happened to them…

A quick listen suffices to instantly realize the potential of this gem by the time of its release (1981). The power of its funky bassline driven groove. The sophistication of its production (featuring Dexter Wansel on synths). And, last but not least, the performance of falsetto lead singer Dwight Ronnell Dukes… ‘I Really Love You’ was most likely in the caliber of say Chaka Khan‘s ‘I’m Every Woman’. If not something The Jacksons could have integrated in their repertoire…

Just like a good wine, ‘I Really Love You’ has pretty much stood the test of time, eventually becoming more delicious one year after another. Nuff reasons to share this with you today…

Overview
Brothers Dwight Ronnell and James Dukes came to form a vocal group while attending Chicago’s South Shore High School back in 1974. They soon after recruited friends Keith Raphael Steward and Michael Brown. The fortet caught the attention of promoter Lil Schneider who hooked them up with G.E.C. label owner/producer Clarence Johnson. 1976 saw the release of their debut-album, ‘I Can’t Seem To Forget You’, partly produced by Tom Tom 84. But the year after, the group underwent staff makeover with original lead singer Michael Brown being dropped in favor of Dean Williams. The move, which had been instigated by label head Johnson got badly received by the remaining members of the band. Johnson soon after used his connections to get the new line-up to sign with Mercury.

They released two albums on Mercury (in 1978 and 1979) before makin’ what would be their final move to Philadelphia-based label WMOT Records. Ironically, the Samuel Peake, Jr. produced ‘I Really Love You’, which would be their very last single back in 1981, leaves a taste of bitter love…

The story of Heaven & Earth is typical of these numerous groups which didn’t make it because of an amalgamation of reasons. A lousy management. Some unfortunate timing. A series of personnel issues… This is pretty much how they missed their rendez-vous with the stars.

Dwight Dukes formed Cashmere along with Keith Steward, McKinley Horton and Daryl Burgee after the dismiss of Heaven & Earth back in 1982.

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