Tue. Oct. 23, 2018

Narada – Divine Emotions (Remix/Edit)

Lost but not least! Narada – Divine Emotions (Remix/Edit) (Reprise Records)

‘Divine Emotions’… That’s pretty much how I felt when discovering this new gem by the likes of Narada Michael Walden putting an end to a 3 year hiatus back in 1988. I know how this might felt quite subjective as a matter of fact. But I’d been an early hour fan of the man. Even comin’ to think he had the potential to compete with Prince and Michael Jackson. With thanks to his talent as a singer, a musician, an arrager and a producer.

I guess we’ll never rewrite history. Although I can’t help thinkin’ a little bit was just needed (probably from his record company) to get him into the same league as Nelson and Jocko.

‘Divine Emotions’ has just all the elements – beginning with the brilliance – which helped establishing Narada’s sound like no other as an artist and a producer. Cleverly surrounded by his regular musicians. From Corrado Rustici on electric piano. To Walter Afanasieff on keyboards. With backgrounds vocals courtesy of Claytoven Richardson (Remember that voice on Idris Muhammad‘s ‘For You Love’. The whole over a slammin’ bassline courtesy of Randy Jackson. With remixing work by the likes of Shep Pettibone who infectiously boosted its grooviness…

‘Divine Emotions’… Just what it says!

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Overview
“All the roads lead to Rome…” is the first expression coming to mind when thinking of Narada Michael Walden‘s career. Nothing could predict – and probably not the man neither himself – his transformation… From his early musical leanings, geared towards Rock, to his repertoire, one of the richest in the history of Disco/Funk.

Playing in a Rock group (the New McGuire Sisters) in Miami, he discovered the music of Mahavishnu Orchestra before meeting their leader, John McLaughlin. A group which he would join a few months later, replacing famous drummer Billy Cobham who was a major influence to him. He recorded two albums with them, then joined Beck as a producer and musician on his ‘Wired’ album in 1975.

Walden delivered his first LP – ‘Garden Of Love Light’ the year after on Atlantic. He would nevertheless have to wait until 1978 to score his first significant success with ‘I Don’t Want Nobody Else (To Dance With You)’. A success amplified the year after with the release of ‘I Shoulda Loved Ya’ and ‘Tonight I’m Alright’ from his ‘The Dance Of Life’ album. Extra gems followed such as ‘I Want You’ (1980), ‘Summer Lady’ (1982) and ‘Reach Out’. The man resurfacing by the end of the 80’s as Narada with the memorable ‘Divine Emotions’…

Last but not least, his name is associated to a myriad of artists, as a writer or producer. From Stacy Lattisaw (‘Jump To The Beat’, ‘Dynamite’, ‘Sixteen’, ‘Block Party’. These in addition to ‘Don’t You Want To Feel It’). To Sister Sledge (‘All American Girls’) and Angela Bofill (‘Something About You’). But also Aretha Franklin (‘Who’s Zooming Who?’, ‘Freeway Of Love’) and Whitney Houston (‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’, ‘So Emotional’). And we can add too Wanda Walden (‘Don’t You Want My Lovin”, ‘I Must Be Dreamin”), George Benson and Clarence Clemons among others. Not to mention Carl Carlton (‘Swing That Sexy Thang’)…

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