Classics: Linda Clifford – Changin’ (Shelter Mix) (West End Records)
Not quite happy with her career as an actress in the beginning of the 70’s, Linda Clifford, a former Miss New York State, decided to focus on music. Eventually signing to Paramount Records where she released her debut-single back in 1973, she switched to Curtis Mayfield‘s Curtom Records label the year after. There, she would drop some of her most significant gems. From ‘Runaway Love’. To ‘You Are You Are’ (given an extrapolation years after by UK act Black Masses). Not to mention the title cut of her 1977 released ‘If My Friends Could See Me Now’ album in addition to her Disco cover version of Simon & Garfunkel‘s classic ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ two years later…
We catch her back in 2001, soon after the relaunch of West End Records, on this vibrant song talking about a love story that has come to an end. A jam produced by Ralphi Rosario and brought into another dimension by Blaze in their instantly recognizable style blnding deep and soulful vibes.
– Brooklyn, NYC native Linda Clifford is a multi-talented artist. She first came to light as an actress back at the end of the sixties in films such as ‘Rosemary’s Baby’, ‘The Boston Strangler’, ‘Coogan’s Bluff’ and ‘Sweet Charity’. Reduced to minor roles though, she gave up to focus on developping her career as a singer.
Recognition would come in 1978 with the release of her second album. Its title track – ‘If My Friends Could See me Now’ – standing as her biggest success ever. An album which also included the memorable ‘Runaway Love’ and ‘You Are You Are’.
She eventually made a memorable come back in 2000 with the Ralphi Rosario produced ‘Changin’. And more precisely with its Shelter remixes courtesy of Blaze on West End.
– Formed by the mid-80’s, Blaze progressively made themselves the depository of a unique sound. Eventually being to House Music what New Jack Swing happened to be to R&B. In other words, from a blend of Gospel, Jazz, Afro, Latin and Funk influences.
Initially a threesome with Chris Herbert who left by the beginning of the 90’s, Kevin Hedge and Josh Milan have crafted some of the most vibrant pieces of music one might think of. From the early Phase II‘s ‘Reachin’ to the anthemic ‘Lovelee Day’. From the soothing ‘Wishing You Were Here’ to the infectious ‘Funky People ‘ featuring Cassio Ware. And the list goes on, not to mention their memorable collaborations with Louie Vega.
They released a total of 5 albums in a 15 years period of time. They are also responsible for the UDAUFL album. A concept album which featured a myriad of luminaries with the aim to collect funds to fight against AIDS.
Blaze came to an end in the second half of the 2000’s. With Milan running his own Honeycomb label from then. And Hedge sharing the duties behind the decks with Louie Vega at the weekly Roots party at NYC Cielo.