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Recommended smooth and mellow soul CDs
Recommended Gamble & Huff CDs
Recommended funk and disco CDs
Recommended jazz/funk fusion CDs
West Coast Soft Rock WEST COAST
Recommended west coast soft rock CDs
Chill Out Electronica ELECTRONICA
Recommended chill out electronica CDs
CD want list CD WANT LIST
Care to help me track down some much sought-after CDs?

Blue-Eyed Soul…

Blue-Eyed Soul refers to soul and R&B music performed and sung by white musicians. The term first came into play during the mid-’60s, when acts like the Righteous Brothers had hits with soulful songs like "You Lost That Loving Feeling." Throughout the late ’60s, blue-eyed soul thrived, as acts like the Rascals, the Box Tops, Mitch Ryder, Tony Joe White, and Roy Head had a series of hits. During the ’70s, blue-eyed soul continued to be successful, as acts like Hall & Oates, Robert Palmer, Average White Band, Boz Scaggs, and David Bowie updated the formula.

All Music Guide
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Famous Name Changes
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How band got their names
Steely Dan: A dildo in the William Burroughs novel "Naked Lunch".

Lyrics World
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…and yes, – just what you were looking for!
Misheard Lyrics Archive
Hilarious! " ‘scuse me, while I kiss this guy"
ABC: The Lexicon Of Love – 1982
Produced by: Trevor Horn
ABC: Alphabet City – 1987
Produced by: Bernard Edwards
Label: Mercury

One of the more popular new wave bands of the early ’80s, the British group ABC built upon the synthesized R&B pop of David Bowie and Roxy Music. Ûber producer Trevor Horn was mainly responsible for the success together with lead singer Martin Fry, a fashion plate of a frontman with a Bryan Ferry fixation. Horn’s production merged synthesizer sounds, groovy beats, and lots of strings and horns (orchestrations by Anne Dudley, Art of Noise). The Lexicon of Love is truly a classic album in my book, but be sure to get the remastered version.
After a couple of not-so-god albums, "Alphabet City" saw ABC returning to Motown and Northern soul that provided the basis of their debut album. Bernard Edwards produced a Chic-ish kind of sound with lavish strings and great songs and lyrics. "When Smokey Sings" and "The Night You Murdered Love" were hits singles but the best tracks are probably "King Without A Crown" and the mellow and superb "One Day".

Gabriela Anders: Wanting – 1998
Label: Warner Bros.
Produced by: Paul Brown & George Duke
Argentina born Gabriela Anders got her big break singing a duet with soft jazz giant Michael Franks, and like Franks, Anders wraps laid-back vocals around even more tranquil rhythms. It’s all very calming and proficient and breezy. Her debut album "Wanting", mixes bits of her Argentine heritage with late-’70s California jazz. A very Sade-ish album indeed…
Burt Bacharach: The Very Best Of – 2001
Label: Rhino/Atlantic
Produced by: Burt Bacharach
With a hit-single track record spanning four decades, Burt Bacharach became one of the most important composers of popular music in the 20th century. His sophisticated yet breezy productions borrowed from cool jazz, soul, Brazilian bossa nova, and traditional pop to virtually define adult pop during the 1960s.
The Very Best Of by Rhino does not concentrate on Burt Bacharachs own records, but rather on others doing his songs. And, really, that’s what makes it magical, since Bacharach wasn’t the best interpreter of his own material – vocalists like Dionne Warwick and Dusty Springfield were. The album is a great introduction to Bacharach and his classic songs, although it does run out of steam toward the end, when "That’s What Friends Are For" shows its ugly head, but there are no other single-disc collections that offer such a accurate overview of Bacharach at his best. Want more? Go for the 75 songs 3-disc box set "The Look Of Love", also from Rhino Records.
Buy it at amazon.com
Beautiful South: Carry On Up The Charts [Best Of] – 1994
Label: Mercury
Produced by: Mike Hedges & Jon Kelly
"Carry on Up the Charts: The Best of the Beautiful South" went 5 x platinum between its 1994 fall release and the summer of 1995. The success was surprising, because while the band had been modestly popular, their last few albums were sliding down the charts. However, their hits collection, "Carry on Up the Charts", went straight to #1 and stayed there for weeks. It’s nothing more than all their singles, yet compiled together they make the most convincing case for the Beautiful South’s sophisticated pop.
Buy it at amazon.com
Bacharach & Costello: Painted From Memory – 1998
Label: Mercury
Bacharach & Isley: Isley Meets Bacharach – 2003
Label: SKG Music
Produced by: Burt Bacharach
First I didn’t think and collaboration between Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello would work, how wrong I was! Painted From Memory is simply great! Wisely, they chose to work within the stylistic parameters of Bacharach’s ’60s material. Bacharach hasn’t written such graceful, powerful melodies since his glory days, and Costello… well I really don’t know since I’, not that familliar with his other work. With its lush arrangements, sighing brass and strings, gentle pianos, and backing vocals, it’s clearly a classicist album, yet it sounds utterly timeless.
While the collaboration between soul singer supreme Ron Isley and composer and arranger Burt Bacharach does not have the adventurous scope of Bacharach’s collaboration with Elvis Costello — in that the tunes featured here are mostly Bacharach classics — it is every bit as satisfying. At 62, Isley’s voice is sweeter and more resonant than ever. This is a winner, a beautiful effort that combines the give and take of the classic pop song with the emotion of great soul singing.
Buy it at amazon.com
Buy it at amazon.com
Charles & Eddie: Duophonic – 1992
Charles & Eddie: Chocolate Milk – 1995

Label: Capitol
Produced by: Josh Deutsch
Very 70’s soul inspired and with voices that harmonize beautifully, Charles Pettigrew & Eddie Chacon delivers classic soul on both "Duo…" and "Chocolate…". Although both albums are a bit uneven, a compilation consisting of the best cuts would have been a killer and right up there with the best of the best soul releases ever!
Buy it at amazon.com
Beverley Craven: Mixed Emotions – 1999
Label: Epic
Produced by: Beverly Craven
Although her first 2 albums have more stripped down arrangements, the 1999 "Mixed Emotions" is more of the same. Except for her somewhat out-of-date lyrics on "Tick Tock" (wagging her finger at women who choose careers over children), and the tasteless guitar solo at the end which sounds a bit Celine Dionish, "Mixed Emotions" is great pop songwriting and her over-all best offering.
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Deacon Blue: Raintown – 1987
Label: Sony
Produced by: Jon Kelly
An inspiring debut of well-crafted adult pop, heavily under the influence of Prefab Sprout, it was originally released by CBS Records in the UK in May 1987.
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Everything But The Girl: The Language Of Life – 1990
Label: WEA
Produced by: Tommy LiPuma
Although the hard core EBTG fan would probably disagree, – I say that the "Language of Life" is Ben Watt & Tracy Thorn’s overall best offering. At the time it was the logical extension of EBTGs cool-jazz approach to finally go all the way by hiring veteran producer Tommy LiPuma and a L.A. studio full of fusion musicians like Joe Sample (the Crusaders), Russell Ferrante (the Yellowjackets), Michael Brecker, and, finally, Stan Getz.
Daryl Hall: Soul Alone – 1993
Label: Epic
Produced by: Daryl Hall & Jeffrey Smith
Daryl Hall: Can’t Stop Dreaming – 1996
Label: BMG Japan
Produced by: Daryl Hall & David Bellochio
Both these albums is blue-eyed soul as good as it gets! "Soul Alone" shows Hall shining as both a songsmith and a vocalist, also on going back to his youth in Philadelphia, and with it, the Philly Soul and folk-rock that was so close to his heart.
While Can’t Stop Dreaming was for several years only available on BMG International label in Japan. He still sounds great with one of the best blue-eyed soul voices around. Hall’s smooth hooks, tight love songs, and crisp arrangements are pretty much timeless. Tracks such as "Cab Driver," with its Steely Dan feel, and the Marvin Gaye/Leon Ware-inspired "Let Me Be the One" great, – especially vocally. Included is a remake of the Hall & Oates classic "She’s Gone". Despite a very nice new arrangement, I personally don’t think we really need a a remake of this, since it was so god damn perfect the first time around…
Buy it at amazon.com
Buy it at amazon.com
Hall & Oates: No Goodbyes [Jap. CD release only] – 1977
Label: Atlantic Japan 1990
Produced by: Arif Mardin & Tod Rundgren
Daryl Hall actually recorded a single with Kenny Gamble and the Romeos in  1966. The group featured Gamble, Leon Huff, and Thom Bell, who would all become the architects of Philly Soul. He met John Oates 1969, who was leading his own soul band at the time. From their first hit in 1974 through their heyday in the mid 80s, Daryl Hall & John Oates’ smooth, catchy take on Philly Soul brought them enormous commercial success.
"No Goodbyes" is a compilation of their three Atlantic albums and includes three unreleased tracks and the classic "She’s Gone" It confirms the fact that Hall & Oates were still developing their signature style.
More than 30 Hall & Oates compilations has been released, but they are all single disc sets and they definitely deserves at least a double CD set to cover their highlights. "The Ballads Collection" is pretty good though.
Buy it at amazon.com
Bo Kaspers Orkester: Amerika – 1996
Label: Columbia Sweden
Produced by: Kaj Erixton
Mixing pop and jazz influences, with heavy lounge tendencies, BKO sounds like rock’n roll has never existed, Formed in 1991 and taking parts of the name from front figure Bo Sundström, Bo Kaspers Orkester was one of Swedens best selling band in the 90s. In my opinion "Amerika" is by far their best effort, with witty lyrics (in Swedish) and an excellent mix of soul, jazz and easy listening.
Lighthouse Family: Ocean Drive – 1995
Label: A&M
Produced by: Michael Peden
Ocean Drive, the debut album from the London-based duo Lighthouse Family, is an extremely pleasant blue-eyed soul affair that makes for excellent rainy-day listening. The smooth guitar chords and quiet percussion quickly become addictive. Close your eyes while listening, you can almost feel yourself driving along the coast, the wind in your hair and your responsibilities left behind. Want more? Go for the 15 track "Greatest Hits".
Love & Money: Strange Kind of Love – 1988
Label: Fontana
These Scotsmen look to America for inspiration: funk, jazz and blues combined with sophisticated arrangements and James Grant’s brooding vocals. A line in "Jocelyn Square" pretty much sums up his mood: "I loved you so much I hated your guts". A blue-eyed soul Tears For Fears if you will… Hard to get on CD.
Matt Bianco: Matt’s Mood – 2004
Label: Emarcy/Universal
Produced by: Danny White & Mark Reilly
If you’re a fan of the Bossa Nova sounds of Brasil, you’ll immediately get the Jobim references of this album. Formed by ex-members of UK modern jazz ensemble Blue Rondo a la Turk, Matt Bianco evolved into one of England’s top jazz-pop bands in the 80’s. Their version of Georgie Fame’s "Yeh Yeh" received a European music award as Best Single of 1985, while their single "Wam Bam Boogie" was the number one European club track of 1988. Matt’s Mood is a great comeback and highly recommended. You should also check out their 1982 debut album Whose Side Are You On?
Sarah Jane Morris: Heaven – 1992
Label: Virgin
Produced by: Martyn Ware
British born Sarah Jane Morris attended London’s Central School of Speech and Drama while singing jazz and soul classics in local clubs. Morris was launched to fame after appearing with Jimmy Somerville on the Communards’ chart-topping 1986 cover of the disco classic "Don’t Leave Me This Way." Her debut solo album followed in 1989, featuring a controversial cover of Billy Paul’s "Me and Mrs. Jones". Morris’s second album, the over-all better Martyn Ware-produced "Heaven", was released in 1992.
Buy it at amazon.com
Van Morrison: Poetic Champions Compose – 1987
Label: Mercury
Van Morrison: Avalon Sunset – 1989
Label: Polydor
Produced by: Ivan Morisson
Van Morrison is rated among popular music’s true innovators, melting incantatory vocals and fusion of R&B, jazz, blues, and Celtic folk.
On his 1987 "Poetic…", the opening five-minute jazz instrumental "Spanish Steps" is just great and certainly sets the mood for this record of mid-tempos and ballads, with Van’s soulful voice.
With "Avalon Sunset" Van Morrison scored one of his biggest commercial successes. A record highlighted by the gorgeous classic "Have I Told You Lately," one of his most heartfelt love songs and a major radio hit which helped introduce his music to a new generation of listeners. Not a consistently strong album, Avalon Sunset is nevertheless the work of a master craftsman with its lush orchestration and atmospheric production.

Robert Palmer: Pressure Drop – 1976
Produced by: Steve Smith
Robert Palmer Double Fun – 1978
Produced by: Robert Palmer
Label: Island
British born Alan Palmer is probably best known for his 80’s music videos in which shows Palmer as a suit-and-tie lady’s man who performed his songs backed by a band of leggy models only, – much to the delight of viewers who made him one of MTV’s biggest success stories.
On 1976’s Pressure Drop, Palmer’s silky "Give Me an Inch" and "Work To Make It Work", plus the backing of Little Feat makes this a very good blue-eyed soul effort.
The 1978’s self-produced Double Fun shows Palmer’s love of reggae-styled grooves. "Every Kinda People," a catchy pop reggae groove with tasteful orchestrations. Elsewhere, Palmer turns up the energy with "Best of Both Worlds," a bass-driven dance tune that shows off his vocal with its cleverly arranged and complex vocal arrangement, and the funky Alan Toussaint track "Night People".
Buy it at amazon.com
Buy it at amazon.com
Prefab Sprout: The 38 Carat Collection [Best Of] – 1999
Label: Sony
Produced by: Paddy McAloon
One of the most beloved British pop bands of the ’80s and ’90s, Prefab Sprout and singer/songwriter Paddy McAloon is regularly hailed as one of the great songwriters of his era.
The 38 Carat Collection is a sublime overview of Prefab Sprout’s remarkable career. Disc one is a decade-and-a-half’s worth of singles that are truly gems. The second disc proves that McAloon’s album tracks are in many cases better than his singles. Containing two to four tracks from each of Prefab Sprout’s six 1984-1997 albums, this disc covers McAloon’s more challenging or non-commercial material. Though no collection can truly cover all of Prefab Sprout’s high points — at least three of their albums, "Steve McQueen", "Jordan: The Comeback", and "Andromeda Heights" are simply essential — this set is much better than 1992’s single-disc compilation "A Life of Surprises".
Boz Scaggs: My Time – A Boz Scaggs Anthology – 1998
Produced by: Various
Label: Sony
Boz Scaggs: Dig – 2001
Produced by: Boz Scaggs, David Paich
Label: Virgin
Born William Royce Scaggs in Ohio 1944, singer/songwriter Boz Scaggs started out in the 60’s as a member of the Steve Miller Band but went solo in 1968 and achieve a commercial breakthrough with 1976’s "Silk Degrees", which included the hits "Lowdown" and "Lido Shuffle". 1977’s "Down Two, Then Left" was also a success, and 1980’s "Middle Man" reached the Top Ten on the strength of the singles "Breakdown Dead Ahead" and "JoJo". However, Scaggs spent much of the 1980s in retirement, owning and operating the San Francisco nightclub Slim’s and limiting his performances primarily to the club’s annual black-tie New Year’s Eve party. "My Time – A Boz Anthology" is an excellent 2-disc set presenting most of his best work. The 2001 release "Dig" on Virgin Records includes the superb blue-eyed mellow "Miss Riddle". Co-produced by David Paich and a very fine adult contemporary take on R&B that showcases Scaggs in the finest voice in decades.
Buy it at amazon.com
Swing Out Sister: Kaleidoscope World – 1989
Label: Fontana/Mercury
Swing Out Sister: Somewhere Deep In The Night – 2001
Label: Universal Japan
Swing Out Sister: Where Our Love Grows – 2004
Label: EMI
Produced by: Paul Stavely O’Duffy
Swing Out Sister’s sounds like Burt Bacharach meets St. Etienne or late period Everything But The Girl. With their love for lush soft pop, soul, and soundtracks of the 1960s and early ’70s, vocalist Corinne Drewery and keyboardist Andy Connell were singing the praises of Burt Bacharach, Jimmy Webb, and John Barry back when those great artists were thought to be the definition of unhip. Now those same artists are widely sampled and copied by mainstream musicians.
Their 1985 single "Breakout," was a Top Ten hit in UK and Japan, and included on the debut album "It’s Better to Travel". They hired Jim Webb to arrange and conduct the orchestra on the 1989 follow-up "Kaleidoscope World", which is in my opinion an overall better album. Both albums were huge hits in Japan, producing a special Japan-only collection of remixes, the 1989 "Another Non-Stop Sister". Several albums followed during the 90s and SOS had become one of the most popular acts in Japan. After 1994’s "The Living Return" failed to chart in Great Britain, the U.K. office of Mercury Records didn’t release 1997’s "Shapes and Patterns", 1999’s "Filth and Dreams", or 2001’s "Somewhere Deep in the Night" in England, their native country.
Both the 2001 "Somewhere Deep in the Night" and the 2004 "Where Our Love Grows" is packed with sweeping, melancholy tunes that echo Bacharach, while the albums is held together by lush instrumental themes that seem straight out of a ’60s soundtrack album by John Barry or Quincy Jones. Also check out the superb 1993 "Live at the Jazz Cafe", but be sure to get the 2-disc set.
Buy it at amazon.com
Buy it at amazon.com
Dionne Warwick: Then Came You – 1975
Label: Arista
Produced by: Jerry Ragovoy, Thom Bell
Dionne Warwick: Walk On By – The Definitive Collection – 2000
Label: Warner Bros.
Produced by: Various
In the early 60s, Dionne Warwick teamed up with Burt Bacharach and Hal David, songwriters and producers who wrote their timeless classics for her alto voice. Warwick is forever associated with those songs, even though she managed to build a career after leaving Bacharach & David. In 1975, after Warwick attempted many styles and producers, she teaming up with both Jerry Ragovoy and Thom Bell for a more R&B styled production on "Then Came You". The title track – a duet with The Spinners –  is pure Philly Soul. With a career spanning from the early 60s, more than 40 (!) Warwick compilations has been released. Warner UK have released one of the best in "Walk On By – The Definitive Collection" A digitally remastered 2 disc set containing 40 tracks mainly from the heyday of her collaboration with Burt Bacharach and Hal David. A must for Warwick fans and worthwhile for anyone interested in classic singing and songwriting. Excellent liner notes and photos as well.

Wet Wet Wet: End Of Part One – Greatest Hits – 1993
Label: Phonogram
Produced by: Wet Wet Wet
From the time Wet Wet Wet’s debut "Popped In Souled Out" in 1987 to the time this best-of compilation was released in 1993, the band managed to become one of the biggest-selling acts in British chart history. The songs on this 2 CD set compilation contains blue-eyed soul and radio-friendly pop and is all the Wet Wet Wet you’ll ever need. Apart from their biggest single, "Love Is All Around" in 1994, there was nothing from the last few years of their existence that matched the quality of the songs collected here.
Nancy Wilson: Forbidden Lover – 1987
Label: Columbia
Produced by: Kiyoshi Itoh
Nancy Wilson was among contemporary music’s most stylish and sultry vocalists; while often crossing over into the pop and R&B — and even hosting her own television variety program — she remained best known as a jazz performer. Her 1987 release "Forbidden Lover" is however pure pop/soul! You should also check out her 1999 16 track "Greatest Hits" on Columbia. This has a more classic lounge/pop approach.
Workshy: The Golden Mile – 1989
Label: Magnet
Produced by: Mark Fisher & Pete Wingfield
Somewhere in between Swing Out Sister and a downtempo Matt Bianco, – with a dash Sade thrown in, – say hi to sophisticated coffee-table soul and smooth jazz band Workshy. Their debut album "The Golden Mile" was released in 1989. Don’t think the album raised much fuzz in the UK, but it became a hit in Japan. As far as I know all of the later albums have only been released in Japan. More on Workshy


[ Gunnar Homdrum, Marbella, Spain © 2004 -2005 ]