Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 5-star, soul-funk bargain, 10 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Original Album Series [5 Pack] (Audio CD)
To anyone thinking of buying: should top notch '70s style funky, jazzy, disco-fied soul music be your particular bag, just do not hesitate! At under 10 this is probably one of the best value for money packages you could spend your money on...

Put simply, Chaka's three Arif Mardin-produced solo albums from 1978 through to 1981 are pretty much the motherlode, encompassing all those enduring sounds that were around back in Black-American music's golden era - from disco to soul to jazz and funk and all points in-between. The final two sets from 1982 and 1984 also have their moments but it is those first three that catapult Chaka into the soul stratosphere...

What we have are three glittering examples of state-of-the-art late Seventies/early Eighties studio production, quality song-writing from the likes of Ashford and Simpson, Charles Stepney, Greg Diamond and George Benson, together with the finest musicians Arif Mardin could muster (Steve Ferrone, Phil Upchurch, Randy and Michael Brecker, Herbie Hancock, Greg Phillinganes, Dizzy Gillespie! The list is very long and very distinguished). And then, riding this delicious concoction, Chaka Khan's superb, soaring, jazz-blues-inflected vocal

"Chaka", from 1978, is possibly the strongest of the five. From the giant-killing disco anthem of "I'm Every Woman" through the infectious jazz-funk of "Sleep On It" to the pumping rare groove jam that is "We Got The Love", it is quite simply Chaka and Arif's masterwork...oh, and if you are a fan of the beautiful orchestral gospel-folk-soul sound as realised by Charles Stepney and the Rotary Connection, you have to check out "Love Has Fallen On Me". Somehow, Arif Mardin and Chaka managed to lift the trademark Stepney arrangement of soaring strings,brass and piano to a whole new level

A few more highlights (in chronological order):

From 1980's "Naughty" album - the beautiful Ashford and Simpson-penned "Clouds" and the fantastic southern soul of "Papillon (AKA Hot Butterfly)"

From the 1981 "What Cha Gonna Do For Me" LP (which really does run the debut album quite close in my book) - the Daft Punk/Stardust-sampled "Fate" and the original '80s boogie of "We Got Each Other"

From 1984"s world-conquering "I Feel For You" album - the massive club favourite "Eye To Eye" as well as Prince-penned title song, the one that made Ms Khan a global superstar

Final word: the concluding pair of albums in the collection are, perhaps, a little bit of a let-down after the three cusp-of-the-decade masterworks. Put simply, that synthed-up early to mid-Eighties club sound (great at the time) really just doesn't stand the test of time. If, like me, you're in the "Off The Wall"-camp as opposed to "Thriller", you'll know just what I mean...

That's a minor gripe. Seriously, do yourself a favour and bag the biggest soul-funk bargain around today!
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4.8 out of 5 stars (10 customer reviews)
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