Never Was Love
Goodbye Porkpie Hat
You Light Up My Life
Judy Roberts (vocals, Wurlitzer Electronic Piano, ARP Pro Soloist and other
keyboards): Neal Seroka (guitar): Sean Silverman (bass): Tony Carpenter
(congas and percussion): Phil Gratteau (drums, percussion)
The copyright date is 1980 and this is certainly a slice of the funky cake
from Judy Roberts and her Wisconsin-based band. Inner City have also
released The Other World and Nights in Brazil, two of her other LP albums.
Roberts, vocalist and purveyor of many a keyboard implement including the
Hohner Clavinet, the ARP Omni as well as the more ubiquitous Fender Rhodes,
also has recourse to a concert grand and her more familiar modified
Wurlitzer Electronic piano.
This eight-track album, lasting 37-minutes, is laden with keyboard effects
and occupies the RnB meets funk end of the spectrum, as a listen to the
opener, Never was Love, easily confirms with its echo chamber
vocal adding to the vibe. Bassist Sean Silvermanís composition Thumbs allows him a funky electric workout, with the vocal
emerging electronically sampled in a way not wholly unreminiscent of a
quaking duck. Leon Russellís Fantasy offers rather more in the way
of variety but comes across as rather amorphous with a twinkly keyboard
joining forces with funk bass.
Thereís an affectionate Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, spiced with light
wit, and though too polite rather better in its less-is-more way.You Light Up My Life is modish disco fodder, whilst Robertís own Dandelion shows her deft keyboard skill and wordless echo-y vocal,
though thereís invariably a de trop feel to much of this latter aspect and
indeed to much of the album as a whole. Itís good to hear a Baldwin concert
grand in Yes Indeed, written by the bandís guitarist Neal Seroka,
and thereís a pleasantly laid-back feel to Watercolors though even
here too the opportunities for colour are largely passed by.
A slice of the times, then, but the times have pretty much passed this by.