Thursday, March 23, 2017

Shalamar – Over And Over (SOLAR)

Classics: Shalamar – Over And Over (SOLAR)

Strange as to how at times songs can be premonitory. Of course, one might first think of classics such as ‘Make That Move’, ‘A Night To Remember’ or ‘There It Is’ whenever evoking the legacy of Shalamar. But what (and how) about ‘Over And Over’?

Looking at it with time (more than 30 years after its release) sort of brings to the souvenir of Phyllis Nelson. And more precisely to the lyrics of her classic ‘Move Closer’ which go like this… “Hey baby, you go your way And I’ll go mine. But in the meantime, When we’re together, touchin’ each other And our bodies do what we feel. When were dancin’, smoochin’ and swayin’ Tender love song softly playin’…”

I guess some of you might wonder about this connection, but hold on a sec. As to not relate these lyrics to the irresistible feeling Shalamargave while jamming together. Displaying such an impression of evidence by the time they evolved under the same banner.

As a fan myself, I saw their disbanding as a mess. A disbanding which happened during the recording process of ‘The Look’ album (which features ‘Over And Over’) back in 1983. The latter therefore almost havin’ the allure of a statement. With Howard Hewett together with producer Leon F Sylvers III reachin’ one of their absolute peaks…

Overview
Shalamar saw the light in the second half of the 70’s at the initiative of Soul Train head Don Cornelius and future SOLAR label head Dick Griffey. A so to say Disco-driven vehicle and most likely trendsetters at the time, Shalamar scored their first success with ‘Uptown Festival’ back in 1977. It was not long after that the group’s producers decided to replace its session singers with popular Soul Train dancers Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel around original lead singer Gary Mumford. Mumford soon after left though with Gerald Brown replacing him for the recording of Shalamar‘s second album. The latter spanning the classic ‘Take It To The Bank’.

After financial conflicts with the producers, Brown also left in the middle of promotional tour. This being how Jeffrey Daniel came to call Howard Hewett and offered him to join. Three days after, Hewett was in Paterson, NJ along with Daniel and Jody Watley. There, they rehearsed the lip synch and choreography to the current Shalamar single ‘Take That To The Bank’ which they performed as a part of a local dance show. Returning to Los Angeles soon after, they immediately started recording the ‘Big Fun’ album with producer Leon F. Sylvers III.

Their collaboration with the latter would be synonymous with an impressive string of classics. From ‘Right In The Socket’ to ‘The Second Time Around’. Then ‘Make That Move’ and the lascivious ‘This Is For The Lover In You’ in 1980. But also ‘A Night To Remember’, ‘Friends’, ‘There It Is’ and I Can Make You Feel Good’ in 1982. Not to mention the vibrant ‘Over And Over’ the year after, with Jody Watley soon after leavin’, in the footsteps of Jeffrey Daniel. Hewett would nevertheless contribute to another Shalamar album, ‘Heartbreak’, in 1984 before launching his solo career.

With the classic Shalamar line-up gone, the group resurfaced under the form of a new threesome featuring Micki Free, Delisa Davis and Sydney Davis. They released two albums. Beginning with ‘Circumstancial Evidence’ along with up and coming production pair L.A. & Babyface in 1987. Then ‘Wake Up’ upon relative indifference 3 years after. The vibe had definitely gone…

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