Classics: The Emotions – Best Of My Love (Columbia)
If ever wondering how The Emotions sound like a female version of Earth, Wind & Fire, don’t look any further… It’s most likely because band leader Maurice White took them under his wing. This after they left Stax Records back in 1975.
On the heels of ‘I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love’, ‘Best Of My Love’ most likely overflows with the ingredients one can find in E,W & F‘s music. In other words, the brilliance, the sophistication and the energy. As many elements one could find for instance on Cheryl Lynn‘s ‘Got To Be Real’. But also on Alton McClain & Destiny‘s ‘It Must Be Love’. Meanwhile comin’ up as as many punctuations enhancing the conviction of their messages.
‘Best of My Love’ has set up itself as The Emotions‘ biggest success ever. Getting them to win a Grammy the year after for Best R&B Performance by A Duo Or Group with Vocal. Meanwhile comin’ up as another illustration of Al McKay‘s obvious writing skills…
– Hailing from Chicago, IL The Emotions consisted in a sister group, comprising Jeanette, Pamela, Sheila and Wanda Hutchinson. Even though their line-up varied upon releases around main members Sheila and Wanda. Eventually adding a new ‘sister’ by the likes of Adrianne Harris in the mid-80’s.
The Hutchison family were 5 sisters one of whom couldn’t sing though.
Jeanette, Sheila and Wanda Hutchinson first sang together as a threesome (The Heavenly Sunbeams) with their dad in the early 60’s. They eventually met an amateur male band – The Emotions – who offered them their name in a kindly gesture. The from then renamed The Emotions delivered their debut-single – ‘I Can’t Stand No More Heart Aches’ on Brainstrom Records back in 1967. They soon after met Pervis Staples of the Staples Singers fame who got them to sign with Stax Records subsidiary Volt. There, they released 2 albums – ‘So I Can Love You’ and ‘Untouched’ – working with producers such as Dave Porter and Isaac Hayes.
The Emotions eventually wrote ‘I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love’ before leavin’ Stax. A cut which Hayes intended to produce as a ballad. Playing the song to Maurice White, the latter suggested them to turn it into a Dance jam. Which they did while signing with Columbia through White‘s Kalimba Productions company back in 1976.
‘I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love’ opened their debut-album – ‘Flowers’ – for Columbia, in a typical Maurice White‘s Earth, Wind & Fire production style. Meanwhile, The Emotions would score their biggest success ever by the likes of ‘Best Of My Love’ as the opening cut to their ‘Rejoice’ album the year after. Then joined Earth, Wind & Fire on the memorable ‘Boogie Wonderland’ in 1979.
They eventually delivered a further 3 albums with White in charge of the production. From ‘Sunbeam’ to ‘Come Into My World’. Not to mention ‘New Affair’. Although they never managed to repeat their earlier chart status. And the fact they teamed up with another production company for didn’t change anything.
Wanda and Jeanette made a brief return though with Earth, Wide & Fire on their ‘Heritage’ album back in 1990.
– A native of New Orleans, LA, Albert Philip McKay had his first break soon after finishing High School. This while accompanying a bandmate to an Ike & Tina Turner‘s rehearsal. And eventually impressing Ike with his left-handed playing guitar skills. And the same way he did with the latter, he would do with Sammy Davis, Jr. Although demonstrating this time his mastery of the then new Wah-wah pedal. Before comin’ to tour with Isaac Hayes among others…
McKay joined Earth, Wind & Fire to fill the void created by Roland Bautista‘s departure after the release of their 1972 ‘Last Days And Time’ album. A band member first, he would later add his voice (just like Charles Stepney) to the songwriting/production team of the band along with Maurice White. Eventually penning ‘Singasong’ back in 1975, then ‘September’ 3 years after. This before sharing the production duties with White on ‘Boogie Wonderland’ featuring The Emotions in 1979. Eventually writing the memorable ‘Best Of My Love’ for them in 1977. But also producing Renn Woods‘ debut-album, ‘Out Of The Woods’, in 1979. Itself mostly remembered for ‘Everybody Get Up’.
Al McKay left Earth, Wind & Fire soon after the release of their ‘Faces’ album which saw the light by the end of 1980. With a then returning Roland Bautista replacing him.
McKay‘s name also appeared along with the ones of Central Line, A Taste Of Honey and Glenn Jones. Not to mention Finis Henderson or The Temptations for whom he produced ‘Skip To My Lou’ and ‘Treat Her Like A Lady’. His departure from E, W & F never got synonymous with anger though. And it’s no surprising we saw him reuniting with former members of the band. Meanwhile givin’ birth to Al McKay Allstars back in the dawn of the Third Millenium. Then subsequently releasing the ‘Al Dente’ album in 2001.
The freshly squeezed ‘Heed The Message’ most likely sounds like the jam that could get them to be topping the charts. This with new arrangements courtesy of Joey Negro. Meanwhile a new album is in the pipeline, enthuzes McKay on his own website…