Atlantic Starr includes: David Lewis (vocals, guitar); Wayne Lewis (vocals, keyboards); Barbara Weathers (vocals); Johnathan Lewis (keyboards, trombone); Joseph Phillips (percussion).
Producers: David Lewis, Wayne Lewis, Joey Gallo, Wardell Potts Jr.
In the mid-'80s, a lot of downsizing was taking place in R&B. Many of the large soul/funk bands that had emerged in the '70s were going high-tech, which meant cutting way back on horns (or even eliminating them altogether) and emphasizing keyboards and drum machines. Atlantic Starr, like Cameo, felt that they had to do some serious downsizing in order to remain competitive. In 1983, they still had nine members; when As the Band Turns came out two years later, it was down to five. This 1985 release found Starr unveiling a new quintet lineup that consisted of Wayne Lewis on lead vocals and keyboards, David Lewis on lead vocals and guitar, Jonathan Lewis on keyboards and trombone (mostly keyboards), Joseph Phillips on percussion, and newcomer Barbara Weathers (who had replaced Sharon Bryant) on lead vocals. As the Band Turns was not only Starr's first post-Bryant album -- it was also the first album they had recorded since parting company with producer James Carmichael (who had produced their last three LPs). This time, the producers included Wayne and David Lewis or Joey Gallo and Wardell Potts Jr. But despite all those changes, Starr was still quite recognizable. Most of the material is excellent, and that is true of everything from the dreamy "Silver Shadow" to the electro-funk gem "Freak-A-Ristic." Without question, Bryant's departure was a major loss for the band. But it wasn't a fatal blow, and Weathers shows herself to be a talented replacement on "Silver Shadow," as well as the ballads "If Your Heart Isn't in It" and "Secret Lovers" (a major hit). Arguably the last great album that Atlantic Starr provided in the '80s, As the Band Turns demonstrated that there could be life after Sharon Bryant for the East Coast outfit. ~ Alex Henderson