Friday, June 23, 2017

LTD – Love Ballad (A&M Records)

Classics: LTD – Love Ballad (A&M)

Time just seems to not have (bad) effect on some pieces of music. And even though more than 40 years have gone since its release, ‘Love Ballad’ should sound familiar to many of you visiting these shores. Either because you’ve heard its cover version by the likes of George Benson. Or from a fragment of it you’ve recognized here or there. Be it on De La Soul feat. Yummy Bingham‘s ‘Much More’ in 2003. Or on N’Dinga Gaba & DJ Spen‘s ‘Until You’ featuring Marc Evans 5 years after, to name a few…

With production work by the likes of the Mizell brothers (Larry, Fonce and Rodney), ‘Love Ballad’ seems to have been tailor made for LTD. Standing among their biggest successes ever. But also showcasing the obvious talent of (lead) tenor singer Jeffrey Osborne who would go his own way 4 years later.

Overview
An acronym for Love, Tenderness & Devotion, LTD officially saw the light back in 1974 with the release of their eponymous debut-album on A&M.
They formed 6 years earlier though in Greensboro, NC. At a time when its members who had been working as members of 15 piece band Fantastic Soul Men Orchestra, backing Sam & Dave, decided to join forces as Love Men Ltd. Moving to the Big Apple, they would recruit Jeffrey Osborne first as a drummer before makin’ of him their lead singer. They relocated to Los Angeles, CA 2 years after, adopting their definitive name while signing with A&M.

Among their biggest classics, ‘Love Ballad’ and ‘(Every Time I Turn Around) Back In Love Again’. Not to mention Holding On (When Love Is Gone). But also ‘Kickin’ Back’ after Osborne and his brother, Billy, left the band to both start solo careers in 1980.

LTD have released a total of 9 studio albums between 1974 and 1983. With their last one – For You’ on indie label Montage Records. They eventually resurfaced back in 1999 with ‘Marry You’. More a compilation though which featured some of their biggest classics.

– Providence, Rhode Island native Jeffrey Osborne happened to be the youngest of a 12 children family. A drummer, a songwriter and a singer, he eventually joined LTD in the early 70’s, soon after imitated by his brother, Billy.
They left LTD back in 1980 to both start solo careers, although reachin’ different statuses.

Jeffrey Osborne scored a total of 5 Gold and Platinum albums with his most famous gems obviously gearing to a Pop Audience. From his 1982 eponymous debut-album, we’ll most likely remember the George Duke produced ‘New Love’. It didn’t chart though. Then I would add the burning hot ‘Soweto’ with remixing work by the likes of Arthur Baker in 1986. Meanwhile, he scored his biggest success duetting with Dionne Warwick the year after on ‘Love Power’. He would soon after progressively disappear from the radar…

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