Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Willow Band – Willowman (Epic)

Most Wanted! The Willow Band – Willowman (Epic)

To be honest, chances are great many of us have never heard of this gem. And the reasons for that are obvious. First, because it mainly saw the light as a promo copy, therefore destined to a bunch of happy few. Second, because it never got mailed outside the U.S. Then last but not least, because The Willow Band disappeared from the radar soon after its 7inch single release.

As a matter of fact, I’d never heard of it until the end of the 90’s. Until that moment when a friend of mine on his way to leave Sony gave me a copy of it along with other rarities. I suppose you might wonder now what this is all about…

To me it just sounds like an unlikely meeting between say Mango Santamaria and Chic. With chances being possible that the latter and most likely Nile Rodgers found some influence in it. Like for instance along with Sister Sledge on the memorable ‘Thinking Of You’. In addition to this, bring it some spacey elements and some rocky guitar part. And there you go with a Latinesque early Disco Boogie jazzy gem. Quite illustrative of a period when artists would blend anything they found as long as it felt good!

Overview
As one can guess on such circumstances, coming up with infos about The Willow Band is like looking for a needle in a haystack. With almost the same applying to their immediate surroundings. Writer/producer Jesus Alvarez dropped a couple of relatively obscure releases on his own in the mid-70’s. And he appeared as a guest along with Shirley & Co on ‘Disco Shrley’. As for Kenny Guarino who did the string arrangements, he also collaborated with Sylvia (Robinson) on her 1976 eponymous album. As with The Moments, the year before on ‘Look At Me (I’m In Love)’.

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