Q - 10/95, p.1573 Stars
- Good - "...dirty funk classics..."
Labelle: Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx, Sarah Dash (vocals).
Additional personnel includes: Edward "Rev" Batts (guitar, background vocals); Leo Nocentelli, Jr., Roland Smith, John Shine, Louis Russell, John Rowin (guitar); Clarence Ford (alto saxophone); Alvin Thomas, Lon Price, Jim Moore (tenor saxophone, flute); Steve Howard, Clyde Kerr, Jr. (trumpet); Richard Kermode (piano); Arthur Neville, James Booker (organ); Allen Toussaint (keyboards); George Porter, Jr., David Barard, Eddie Watkins, Mac Cridlin (bass); Herman Villere Ernest III, Nate Neblett (drums); Kenneth Williams, Jeffrey Shannon (percussion); Ray Parker, Jr.
Producers: Allen R. Toussaint, David Rubinson, Skip Scarborough.
Compilation producer: Leo Sacks.
Engineers include: Ken Laxton, Skip Goodwin, Danny Jones.
Recorded at SeaSaint Studios, New Orleans, Louisiana; The Automatt, San Francisco, California; The Village Recorder and The Total Experience Studios, Los Angeles, California between 1974 and 1980. Includes liner notes by Amy Linden.
This is part of the Legacy Rhythm And Soul series.
Personnel: Skip Scarborough (vocals); Wayne Douglas, James Booker, Tom Coster (guitar); John Longo, Steve Howard (flute, tenor saxophone); Miguel Fuentes (soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, glockenspiel, xylophone, triangle, percussion); Kenneth Williams (soprano saxophone, alto saxophone); Earl Turbinton (alto saxophone); Clarence Ford, Lenny Pickett (baritone saxophone); Kurt McGettrick (bass saxophone); Carl Blouin (trumpet); Jim Moore , Lester Caliste, Lon Price, Alvin Thomas (trombone); Gary Grant, Gary Herbig, Sidney Muldrow, Oscar Brashear, Jim Self, Lew McCreary (brass); Fender Rhodes (piano, electric piano, Clavinet); Ernest Straughter (piano, electric piano); Allen Toussaint, Richard Kermode (piano); James R. Budd Ellison (Clavinet, keyboards); James Gadson (keyboards, background vocals); Leo Nocentelli (keyboards); George Porter, Jr., Nate Neblett, David Barard (drums); Eddie Watkins, Mac Cridlin, Carmine Rojas (congas, percussion); Willie Colón (congas, background vocals); The Waters (steel drum, background vocals); (Ex) Cat Heads (timbales); Jay Van Hall, Jeffrey Shannon, Edward Batts, Munyungo Jackson (percussion); Vernon Manuel, Rosie Casals, Sherri Barman, Julia, Carlos Aleman, Larry Davis, Ray Parker, Jr., Yvonne Fair (background vocals).
Liner Note Author: Amy Linden.
Recording information: Sea-Saint Studios, New Orleans, LA; The Automatt, San Francisco, CA; The Village Recorder, Los Angeles, CA.
Photographers: Bob Gruen; Photofest.
Arrangers: David Crawford; David Rubinson; Al Bent; Allen Toussaint.
Though LaBelle had its roots in Philadelphia, the sound that made the group famous in the '70s is as far from the Philly International style as soul-based music can get. Instead of the lush, string-filled sound of Gamble and Huff, Labelle's music relies on a gritty, funk-oriented sound that makes the most of trenchant horn charts, soul-flavored keyboards, and heavy grooves. They began as a female vocal quartet in the early '60s, but by the time "Lady Marmalade" made them a worldwide sensation in the '70s, they were a trio, driven by the powerful voices of Patti LaBelle and Nona Hendryx.
As heard on such tunes as the churning, sensual "You Turn Me On," Patti's voice is a marvel, easily a contender for Aretha's crown. Often, a gospel influence is audible (another link to Aretha). But instead of Aretha's earthy soul path, LaBelle went down a decidedly more aggressive road, their propulsive funk and outrageous visual style aimed toward the burgeoning rock market. Even without the elaborate hairdos and outfits, though, they were one of the most impressive female-fronted funk outfits of the '70s, as this definitive compilation of material from the mid-to-late-'70s makes clear.