Uptown Festival was Shalamar's first album, but Disco Gardens was Shalamar's first worthwhile album. To say that there was a world of difference between the two might be an understatement. Much of Uptown Festival had a robotic, impersonal quality, and it was obviously the work of a manufactured studio act. But when Shalamar introduced its Jody Watley/Jeffrey Daniels/Gerald Brown lineup on its second album, Disco Gardens, it started feeling like an honest-to-God group with a real identity. This decent-to-excellent album had a pearl of a hit single in "Take That to the Bank," and almost as appealing are the irresistibly funky "Tossin', Turnin', Swingin'" (which should have been a hit single as well) and the catchy "Shalamar Disco Gardens." Although Howard Hewett had yet to join the group, Shalamar had developed a recognizable soul-pop sound. Disco Gardens turned out to be Brown's only album with Shalamar, and in 1978, the arrival of his replacement, Mr. Hewett, would be the icing on Shalamar's cake.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson