Classics: Melba Moore – Mind Up Tonight (Capitol)
I guess what made music so excting at the end of the 70’s / early 80’s is the fact one could have an idea as to what to expect while reading the credits. Beginning with the name of the producers. And, in most cases, the ones of the musicians they would work with.
Lillo Thomas, the late Kashif, but also Freddie Jackson, not to mention Melba Moore… All of them had one thing in common. Their connection with producer Paul Lawrence Jones III aka Paul Laurence. With this resulting in another instantly identifiable gem. Even though ‘Mind Up Tonight’ didn’t get the echo it deserved. Obviously overshadowed by ‘Love’s Comin’ At Ya’. And this despite its straightforward if not in yer face lyrics. Not to mention Melba Moore‘s vibrant vocal performance. With a special mention to its blowing bassline courtesy of the late Wayne Brathwaite.
In other words, no need saying ‘Mind Up Tonight’ contributed makin’ of the 1982 ‘The Other Side Of The Rainbow’ a worth the investment album…
A NYC native, Beatrice Melba Hill, better known as Melba Moore, most likely made her name as a singer, actress and entertainer.
The daughter of saxophonist Teddy Hill and R&B singer Bonnie Davis, she nevertheless took her stage name from another musician. Jazz pianist Clement Leroy Moorman whom her mom remarried when she was 9. The latter standing as a prime influence in the young lady’s musical pursuit. Eventually getting her to learn the piano.
Graduating from college, she briefly worked as a music teacher, but soon after affirmed her will to get under the spotlights. She began her recording career back in 1967, delivering her first recording by the likes of ‘Magic Touch’ although it remained unreleased until 1986 for some reason. She started her performing career the following year, firstly as Dionne in the original cast of the musical ‘Hair’ along with Ronnie Dyson and Diane Keaton. Then replacing the latter in the role of Sheila. Meanwhile, she would get the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical. This for for her portrayal of Lutiebelle in ‘Purlie’ 3 years after.
By 1975, Moore signed a record deal with Buddah Records. Releasing the memorable ‘Peach Melba’ album which included ‘I Am His Lady’, before scoring her first significant success the year after with the Van McCoy penned ‘This It It’. Her cover version of Vivian Reid’s classic ‘Lean On Me’ getting her to get her third Grammy nomination. Then, after a 3 year struggling period, she got back under the spotlights. Successively with ‘Pick Me Up I’ll Dance’ and her cover version of the Bee Gees‘ ‘You Stepped Into My Life’ both produced by McFadden & Whitehead on Epic.
The beginning of the 80’s saw her reachin’ a new status. This after signing a new record deal with Capitol. But also working with producer Paul Lawrence Jones III (Evelyn King, Howard Johnson, Lillo Thomas…) ‘The Other Side Of The Rainbow’ seeing her embarking on a fruitful collaboration with the latter. With this resulting in a bunch of solid gems. From ‘Love’s Comin’ At Ya’ and ‘Mind Up Tonight’ in 1982. To ‘Love Me Right’ and ‘Keep My Lover Satisfied’ the year after.
Extra hits followed such as ‘Livin’ For Your Love’ in 1984 then ‘When You Make Love Like This’ in 1985. Then ‘A Little Bit More’ which she recorded with Freddie Jackson, and ‘Falling’, the year after. Not to mention ‘Do You Really (Want My Love’ and ‘Lift Every Voice And Sing’ in 1988. The end of the 80’s seeing her progressivelky disappearing from the radars…