Most Wanted! Gladys Knight And The Pips – Love Overboard (MCA)
To be honest, I hardly understand how Discogs managed to rate Gladys Knight & The Pips‘ ‘Love Overboard’ as… House Music!
As a matter of fact, ‘Love Overboard’, the opening cut to their 1987 ‘All Our Love’ album, saw them flirting with R&B. And more precisely with the then emerging Swingbeat. This, with a production work by the likes of Reggie and Vincent Calloway of the Calloway and Midnight Star fame. The twosome turning it into an infectiously syncopated affair.
– Kinda hard to believe the first version of the band – simply called The Pips at the time – dates from the early 50’s…
The debut of Gladys Knight And The Pips didn’t happen to be like a simple ballad. Considered for some time as a second-string act by Motown where they got signed back in 1966, this didn’t get them from scoring their first hit the year after. This, with their version of ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’. The first of a series including ‘If I Were Your Woman’ and ‘Midnight Train To Georgia’ on Buddah Records. Not to mention
‘Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)’. A cut which South African producer DJ Micks turned into an insane House masterpiece back in 2009.
They then signed with Columbia by the end of the 70’s. ‘Taste Of Bitter Love’ and ‘Bourgie Bourgie’… But also ‘When You’re Far Away’ and ‘Save The Overtime For Me’ completing their already impressive list of firing gems in addition to ‘Love Overboard’.
Gladys Knight also delivered material on her own, most likely due to contractual reasons. This resulting in the release of extra gems such as ‘You Bring Out The Best In Me’. But also the ultra sought after ‘It’s A Better Than Good Time’ as remixed by Walter Gibbons. No to mention ‘License To Kill’ among others.
– Midnight Star saw the light back in 1976 at the Kentucky State University. From the reunion between fellow students Reggie Calloway, Belinda Lipscomb and Melvin Gentry. But also Kenneth Gant, Bill Simmons, Bo Watson and Jeff Cooper. Themselves soon after joined by Vincent Calloway then Bobby Lovelace in 1982. After their University days, they eventually relocated to Cincinatti, OH. This before landing a record deal with SOLAR.
Midnight Star dropped their debut-album – ‘The Beginning’ – back in 1980. With Harvey Mason responsible for most of its production. To the exception of ‘Make It Last’, left c/o Leon F Sylvers III. The latter producing its follow-up – ‘Standing Together’ – the year after, including the memorable ‘I’ve Been Watching You’. Meanwhile Reggie Calloway started handling the production duties on the 1982 ‘Victory’ album. Itself mostly remembered for the bumpin’ ‘Hot Spot’.
Bigger success though would come the year after along with the release of their ‘No Parking On The Dance Floor ‘ album. An effort which featured the firing ‘Wet My Whistle’ and the Electro/Funk fueled Freak-A-Zoid’. The group scoring another hit in the same vein – ‘Operator’ – from their 1984 ‘Planetary Invasion’ album. Meanwhile, ‘Headlines’, its follow-up back in 1986, would be their very last with the Calloway brothers. Itself featuring the memorable ‘Midas Touch’.
Two extra albums would come up on SOLAR, by the likes of ‘Midnight Star’ and ‘Work It Out’ respectively in 1988 and 1990. But none of them managed to have a comparable following. Midnight Star nevertheless makin’ a bit of extra noise in the charts with a couple of singles though. Beginning with ‘Don’t Rock The Boat’ and ‘Snake In The Grass’.
Goin’ for a long hiatus from then, although they never disbanded, Midnight Star would resurface some twelve years later. This with a new album by the likes of ’15th Avenue’.
As for Reggie and Vincent Calloway, they went on to release two albums under the Calloway guise. With their first effort – ‘All The Way’ – spanning the memorable ‘I Wanna Be Rich’. This in addition ‘Sir Lancelot’ and its title cut to a lesser extend back in 1989. Not to mention ‘Let’s Get Smooth’, from its follow-up of the likes in 1992. Meanwhile one can find the Calloway signature on the production of a bunch of significant gems. From The Deele‘s ‘Just My Luck’ in 1983 to The Whispers‘ ‘Contagious’ the year after. But also Gladys Knight And The Pips‘ ‘Love Overboard’ and LeVert‘s ‘Casanova’ in 1987. Not to mention Teddy Pendergrass‘ ‘Joy’ and ‘Believe In Love’, respectively in 1988 and 1993 among others.
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