Eighties Ladies

Ladies of the '80s

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On their first -- and last -- album, Ladies of the '80s, the disco/soul group Eighties Ladies displays the style and vocal prowess that also served its members well in other parts of their career: Marva Hicks went on to a solo career of some note, and Sylvia Striplin also performed with Aquarian Dream. Most significantly, perhaps, the album was written and produced by Roy Ayers, whose smooth but slightly edgy style elevates the project into something more interesting than just a would-be supergroup. Ladies of the '80s rings in the new decade with a set of funky disco and urban songs, including the title track, which is a feminist rallying cry along the lines of Sister Sledge's "We Are Family," and groove-based tracks like "It's Easy to Move" and "I Knew That Love." Ayers' arrangements and productions really stand out on the instrumental version of "Ladies of the Eighties" and "Turned on to You," which mixes lightly strummed guitars, brass, Latin-tinged percussion, and the Ladies' voices into a soft, sleekly sexy album-closer. Ayers fans as well as aficionados of late-'70s/early-'80s funk and disco will find a lot to like about this stylish, if slightly obscure, release.

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