Melba Moore

Melba [1978]

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Not to be confused with Melba Moore’s like-titled 1976 album for Buddah, this 1978 release was the singer’s first for Epic and second with Gene McFadden and John Whitehead. It could be seen as a half-recycled patchwork, but that wouldn’t be fair. Moore and her collaborators slightly quickened the pulse of the Bee Gees’ “You Stepped into My Life,” turned it into a winding dancefloor groove, and took it to the Top Five of Billboard’s disco chart, as well as the Top 20 of the R&B chart. Two of the stronger songs McFadden and Whitehead wrote for Archie Bell & the DrellsHard Not to Like It -- “There’s No Other Like You,” a ballad, and “It’s Hard Not to Like You” -- are given straight, impassioned readings. The same can be said for the closing “Where Did You Ever Go,” a true vocal showcase written by Dexter Wansel that’s just as fiery as the version heard on Jean Carn’s self-titled album for Philadelphia International. Among the purely new material, the decent ballad “Together Forever” is notable for being the first song written solely by Moore, while the rhapsodic “Pick Me Up, I’ll Dance” was nearly as successful on the disco chart as “You Stepped into My Life.” This is a Philly album in every way, recorded at Sigma Sound (in Philly and the satellite location in New York) with the same studio musicians heard across dozens of recordings from the era, including releases by MFSB and the Salsoul Orchestra, not to mention PIR’s the Futures, who provide background vocals.

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