Aside from the vinyl copy of this album I have, the Japanese issue I have is a nifty little cardboard sleeve with a nice booklet of liners (in Japanese) - - Here in the U.S. though, its been rare and out of print from ages... and what a shame...
Though on the surface a typical LaBelle era mid-70's disco album, the personnel are a bit of a give-a-way that this album was not business as usual.
Best known for her duet with Mick Jagger (Gimme Shelter), her other most recognizable tune is on this album...
The theme from Barreta (KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE SPARROW)
She was also a studio vocalist who pretty much performed with everyone worth mentioning on the planet in the '60s and a wide mix, from Pearl Bailey and Ray Charles to Phil Ochs, Neil Young and Ringo Starr- - and the brother of Little Feat Percussionist, Sam Clayton.
All that aside, let's talk about this album:
First, many tunes were written by Eugene McDaniels (Check out his bizarre yet delightful HEADLESS HEROES!)
At its best it epitomizes the fun yet funky feel of early disco/soul (circa the mid '70s), but is also well produced pop album... In some ways you could compare her to Gloria Gaynor and Pattie Labelle (i.e. singers with solid rock, soul and R&B chops who could pretty much cross over into any genre they wanted, but epitomized the sounds of the era.)
One great tune she does is HOW'D I KNOW THAT LOVE WOULD SLIP AWAY (recorded also by THE EMOTIONS and DENEICE WILLIAMS) - -
session men include the likes of Bob James, Tom Scott, Ralph MacDonald, Ian Underwood, Steve Gadd, Idris Muhammed and countless others... so as you can imagine, the album at times is very NY studio musician tight and funk...
Tunes include quite a few funky numbers, however, Merry stretches it out, hence delivering an album with a lot of variety and surprises... take Dylan's Rainy Day Women (Everybody Must Get Stoned) played Crescent City funky and Room 205 (a country/rock ballad delivered as only a New Orleans gal raised on Gospel and R&B could !)
She's also GREAT and COMMANDING on ballads - - take LOVING GROWS UP SLOW (which features Tom Scott on Lyricon!),
and tunes like IF I LOSE, which are sort of precedents of SMOOTH JAZZ, but laden with some nice and groovy RHODES.
My favorite tune is the bumpin' disco number that I first saw her perform on SOUL TRAIN: ONE MORE RIDE.
The year, by the way was 1975, the label ODE (best known for Cheech and Chong) and its produced by Eugene McDaniels. Been in love with this album for about 6 years and have played it over and over and over again therefore, I rate it MUST HAVE LISTENING ! ! !