Classics: Lisa Stansfield – All Woman (Arista)
Strange as to how words may be missing at times to properly describe a feeling / an emotion. As to how, as a prescriber, you’d like to only let music speak for itself and leave the listeners feeling by themselves. This being pretty much how I felt the things the very first time I got to hear ‘All Woman’ back in 1991. And how I still happen to do 27 years after, by the time writing those lines…
Lisa Stansfield just comes in in an incomparable way, narrating this bittersweet vibrant love scene. Or should I rather say absence of love scene that sees the man progressively not seeing the lady in the house any more. Not seeing her with the eyes that were his when he felt in love with her (the passionate time). No more than considering her the way most females happen to be. In other words, a character that most likely lives different lives in one. As a worker, a house keeper, a mother, a lover. With all these facets being nothing else but the ones of an all woman…
Strangely enough, and by the same time, a long time friend of mine had these words… “You, men, most likely to love with your eyes. Meanwhile, we, the girls, would tend to do so with our ears.” Eventually adding… “Love is a matter of multiple daily attentions.” I found her sayings pretty much makin’ sense, to be honest.
‘All Woman’ is not only a chronicle of the modern life. It’s also and without a single doubt one of Stansfield‘s most vibrant performances. And, in the meantime, an absolute manifesto. With extra props due to Ian Devaney and Andy Morris for their exquisite production work.
“All roads lead to Rome”, says the famous expression. With Lisa Stansfield‘s path to international recognition makin’ no exception. First makin’ herself a name along with Coldcut in the early days of British House (Remember ‘People Hold On’) before turning into a (Brit) Soul icon with long time songwriting partner Ian Devaney.
By 1980, she won Search for a Star. A singing competition held at the Talk of the Town nightclub. Then she released her first single – ‘Your Alibis’ – on Devil Records the year after. Eventually delivering 3 extra singles for the label in 1982 and 1983. Then teamin’ up with school mates Ian Devaney and Andy Morris under the Blue Zone guise in 1984. The threesome putting out one album – ‘Big Thing’ – by the end of 1988 on Arista.
Stansfield co-wrote and recorded the classic ‘People Hold On’ along with Coldcut in early 1989. With its impact leading her to soon after sign another record deal with Arista, but this time as a solo artist. Her debut-album – ‘Affection’ – seeing the light by the end of November during that same year.
She wrote all the songs with Devaney and Morris who also produced the whole album to the exception of ‘This Is The Right Time’ left c/o Coldcut. Eventually comin’ up with her biggest hit and signature song, ‘All Around The World’. But also the burnin’ hot ‘What Did I Do To You’ and the soothing ‘Live Together’.
‘Real Love’, her second album, hit the streets in November 1991. Featuring ‘Change’ which received the remixing treatment of Driza Bone. But also of the late Frankie Knuckles who certainly crafted one of his most vibrant reworks ever. Other cuts worth the mention including the touching ‘All Woman’. But also ‘Set Your Loving Free’ which Louie Vega and Kenny Dope eventually remixed under their Kenlou guise. Then the year after Stansfield came up with ‘Someday (I’m Coming Back)’ as a part of ‘The Bodyguard’ OST. With Frankie Knuckles also remixing it together with long time partner David Morales.
Knuckles also came to retouch ‘Never, Never Give You Up’. A cover version of Barry White‘s classic of the likes from Lisa Stansfield‘s eponymous 4th album back in 1997. Eventually winning the Grammy Award for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical. Meanwhile the album also featured the swingin’ ‘The Real Thing’.
2001 saw the release of ‘Face Up’. Her fifth album, it would be her very last for Arista. Eventually seeing the singer venturing into 2-Step territories on the fascinating ‘Let’s Just Call It Love’. Then she would make a brief appearance 3 years later on Trevor Horn‘s ZTT Records label. This with ‘Moment’. A Pop oriented album which generated a poor following and eventually got her on a nearly 10 year hiatus, meanwhile focussing on her acting career.
Stansfield resurfaced with a new album – ‘Seven’ – by the end of January 2014. Delivering extra gems such as the aptly titled ‘Carry On’, ‘Can’t Dance’ and the mellow ‘So Be It’. Meanwhile 2018 saw her delivering her eighth album, ‘Deeper’. With its first offshot – ‘Billionaire’ – comin’ up with remixing work courtesy of Rob Hardt of the Cool Million fame. The end of 2018 getting Stansfield to release a ‘Deluxe’ edition of the aforementioned. With its title track – ‘Deeper’ – as brilliantly retouched by Snowboy.