The Commodores: Lionel Richie (vocals, saxophone); Milan Williams (guitar, trombone, keyboards); Thomas McClary (guitar); William King (horns); Ronald LaPread (trumpet, bass); Walter "Clyde" Orange (drums, background vocals).
Producers: The Commodores, James Carmichael.
Personnel: Thomas McClary (vocals, electric guitar); Walter Orange (vocals, drums); Lionel Richie (vocals); Milan Williams (electric guitar, keyboards); William King (trumpet); Ronald LaPread (electric bass).
The Commodores' 1977 self-titled release finds the elements that finally brought the band massive success working in perfect lockstep. In addition to their tight-knit funk, jazzy instrumental prowess, horns, and soulful singing (like many R&B groups of the era, they vocal duties), the Commodores also had great tunes, and struck a popular chord with their smooth, romantic balladry. This strength comes to the fore on COMMODORES, merging the group's penchant for grooves and lush instrumental sounds with dreamy tempos and sweet, soaring melodies.
Nowhere is this more evident than the album's closing cut, "Easy." Lead singer Lionel Richie's performance on this tune presages his own success as an adult-contemporary star in the '80s. The gentle, mid-tempo lope of "Zoom" has a similar feel (thanks in part to the strong, string-sweetened arrangements). But the funk is accounted for; "Squeeze the Fruit" and "Patch It Up" work greasy grooves of the first order with requisite burbling funk bass and sliding, acrobatic vocals. The record also contains "Brick House," a pop feast containing one of the funkiest, most infectious riffs of the '70s. If this track fails to get you on your feet, medical attention is advised.