Lost but not least! Aretha Franklin – It’s Just Your Love (Arista)
One of the greatest singers of all time, Aretha Franklin felt inclined to address herself to a reputedly younger audience by the beginning of the 80’s. For that she teamed up with producers Luther Vandross and Marcus Miller. The latter crafting her ‘Jump To It’ and ‘Get It Right’ albums.
Taken from the ‘Jump To It’ album, the soothing ‘It’s Just Your Love’ has unfortunately been widely overshadowed by her uptempo cuts such as the title track and ‘Love Me Right’. Eventually given a release as the flipside of the latter.
Certainly one of her most vibrant interpretations though, served by touching lyrics and an outstanding production. Featuring Luther Vandross and Cissy Houston among others in the backing vocals. But also Nat Adderley, Jr. on keyboards and Marcus Miller on bass. Not to mention George Duke in charge of the piano.
In other words, a dream team for a masterpiece.
‘It’s Just Your Love’. And most definitely theirs in the meantime…
– Not that many artists happened to be producers in addition to their careers. And even less coming to do so with an alter ego. This is nevertheless what singer Luther Vandross and bassist Marcus Miller managed to do on many occasions.
Along with sound engineer Ray Bardani, they crafted an instantly recognizable signature. A sound one could hear for instance on Cheryl Lynn‘s ‘Instant Love’ album. But also Aretha Franklin‘s ‘Jump To It’ and ‘Get It Right’ albums. As on the major part of Vandross‘s repertoire.
A performer, but also a songwriter, he collaborated with countless artists and bands. From Quincy Jones to Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway (‘Back Together Again’), Chic (‘Dance, Dance, Dance’), Chaka Khan or Diana Ross. But also Charme with whom he did a cover version of Toto‘s ‘Georgy Porgy’. Not to mention Jocelyn Brown Sharon Redd and David Bowie. And I’m not even talkin’ about his activities as producer along with bassist Marcus Miller and sound engineer Ray Bardani. The latter leading him to craft Cheryl Lynn‘s ‘Instant Love’ then Aretha Franklin‘s ‘Jump To It’ and ‘Get It Right’ albums in 1982 and 1983. This resulting in gems such as ‘Instant Love’ for Lynn. And ‘Jump To It’, ‘It’s Just Your Love’ and ‘Get It Right’ for Franklin.
Despite a couple of album releases as simply Luther, Vandross would get his breakthrough as the lead singer of various tracks on Change‘s ‘The Glow Of Love’ debut-album back in 1980. He refused contributing to its follow-up though because of a financial disagreement with its executive producer, Jacques Fred Petrus. Although he would sing backing vocals on The BB&Q Band‘s eponymous debut album from the same management team. From then on, he signed a solo record deal with Epic. Going straight to the position #1 in the charts with the title cut from his ‘Never Too Much’ debut-album the year after.
‘Never Too Much’ opened an impressive list of successes which established Vandross as the #1 R&B singer for two decades. The man varying the pleasures upon different moods. From ballads to R&B grooves and eventually hybrids such as ‘Give Me The Reason’ back in 1986. Not to mention his (unofficial) flirt with House vibes as Big L on ‘Heaven’. This with remixing work courtesy of Tommy Musto in 2002.
Among his masterpieces, ‘The Night I Fell In Love’, ‘My Sensitivity (Gets In The Way)’, ‘I Wanted Your Love’, ‘It’s Over Now’ and ‘Power Of Love’. Not to mention ‘The Rush’ which David Morales remixed it an outstanding way and ‘Always And Forever’ to name a few. Vandross also happened to share the duties back in 1992 with Janet Jackson, Bell, Biv, DeVoe and Ralph Tresvant. Delivering the boiling ‘The Best Things In Life Are Free’. A cut which got extra exposure as a part of the ‘Mo’ Money’ OST with production work courtesy of Jam & Lewis. Meanwhile, some of you might also remember his collaboration with Masters At Work on ‘Are You Using Me’ back in 1998. A track which, for some reason, only saw the light as a Promo 12″ on Virgin.
An unreleased cut of his – ‘Love It Love It’ – which he co-wrote with Hubert Eaves III eventually saw the light as a part of a posthumous Greatest Hits package by the end of 2014.
Luther Vandross has sold more than 35 million records worldwide and received 8 Grammy Awards.
He sadly died from diabetes and hypertension at the JFK Medical Center in Edison, NJ on Jul. 01, 2005, at the age of 54.