A Taste of Honey

A Taste of Honey

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Because A Taste of Honey's first major hit, "Boogie Oogie Oogie," was a lighthearted, escapist piece of ear candy, rock critics of the late '70s didn't take the group seriously and tended to dismiss Janice Marie Johnson and Hazel Payne as producers' puppets. But they were far from that: In addition to being expressive singers, Johnson and Payne were talented, versatile musicians and songwriters. Anyone who gives this self-titled debut album a serious listen will quickly realize you can't lump Honey in with the type of disco acts that were, in fact, invented by producers or A&R teams. To the more knowledgeable listener, it's also apparent that A Taste of Honey has as much to do with soul and funk as it does with disco. Although "Boogie Oogie Oogie," which became one of the disco era's major anthems, is the gem that made this album sell over one million units in the U.S., it isn't the record's only highlight. Equally impressive are tracks that range from the gritty, funky "You" to the dreamy "Sky High" and the haunting "World Spin." Meanwhile, "You're in Good Hands" is a '60s-flavored soul ballad that should have been a hit (Honey didn't have a hit ballad until "Sukiyaki" in 1980). Produced by Fonce and Larry Mizell, A Taste of Honey is excellent from start to finish.

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