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The Judy Roberts Band

INNER CITY RECORDS IC 1078 [37:1]

 

 

 

Never Was Love

Thumbs

Fantasy

Goodbye Porkpie Hat

You Light Up My Life

Dandelion

Yes Indeed

Watercolors

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.

Jonathan Woolf




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