Tue. Aug. 14, 2018

Philip Bailey – Children Of The Ghetto (Columbia)

Classics: Philip Bailey – Children Of The Ghetto (Columbia)

‘Devotion’, ‘Fantasy’ and ‘I’ve Had Enough’, and more… As many songs by the likes of Earth, Wind & Fire which Philip Bailey enlightened with his falsetto voice. But the man also had success on his own…

One would most likely remember him for his duet – ‘Easy Lover’ – with Phil Collins, taken from his 1984 ‘Chinese Wall’ album which the latter produced. But how about his brilliant rendition of the Chris and Eddie Amoo penned classic ‘Children Of The Ghetto’ (for The Real Thing)?
A quick listen to it suffices to realize how Bailey reached a rare level vocally speaking. With Collins on percussion comin’ up with a Reggae-influenced smooth rhythm pattern. Therefore crafting a one of a kind environment along with Lesette Wilson delivering stellar keys. As a result, this is the kind of stuff I could listen to all day. Meanwhile havin’ the feeling I’m always discovering something new here or there…

Other artists eventually gave it a try as well. Beginning with Mary J Blige. But also Courtney Pine teamin’ up with female singer Susaye Green for the circumstance.

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Overview
– Born and raised in Denver, Co, Philip Bailey got gifted with a four-octave vocal range and distinctive falsetto register. Singing in local R&B band Friends & Love, he would get his career break. This when joining Earth, Wind & Fire as a co-lead singer and songwriter in the early 70’s. With Maurice White‘s retirement and then death, Bailey became the on-stage leader of the band. Therefore sharing the duties with bassist Verdine White. Not to mention Ralph Johnson and B. David Whitworth.

From 1983, Philip Bailey also recorded as a solo artist. Jumping from Gospel for indie label Myrrh to R&B on Columbia. George Duke got hired to produce his debut-LP – ‘Continuation’ for the latter. Meanwhile Phil Collins produced its follow up – ‘Chinese Wall’ – the year after. Duke, Collins but also Nile Rodgers (Chic) joinin’ forces to produce Bailey‘s ‘Inside Out’ album in 1986.

– Founded in Chicago by Maurice White back in 1971, Earth Wind & Fire stand as one of the most successful bands of the 20th Century. Their music is a unique blend of R&B, Soul, Funk, Jazz, Disco, Rock, Latin and African vibes. If ever we had to summarize them in a few words, the first ones coming to mind would be their obvious flamboyance, both on stage as musically speaking. But also the dynamic sound of their horn section which is a part of their signature. The beauty of their vocal arrangements. With thanks to the contrasting vocal performances of falsetto singer Philip Bailey and contralto Maurice White. Not to mention the presence of the Kalimba (what the Africans tend to call the “thumb piano”) being the icing on the cake)…

The impressive list of their classics speaks for itself. From ‘Shining Star’ to ‘Devotion’, and ‘Sing A Song’. But also ‘Fantasy’, ‘September’, ‘Boogie Wonderland’ or ‘Let’s Groove’. Not to mention ‘Can’t Hide Love’ which Masters At Work brilliantly remixed back in 2002. And ‘Getaway’ which The Salsoul Orchestra covered back in 1977…
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