Gwen McCrae

Rockin' Chair

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This album marked the long-playing debut of Gwen McCrae, a sultry voiced singer who remains popular with soul music cultists today. Rockin' Chair collects the material that she had been recording for the Cat label, a subsidiary of disco giant TK Records. Despite the fact that it was not technically conceived as an album, all the material on Rockin' Chair hangs together nicely: everything here was produced by Miami soul stalwart Steve Alaimo, who strikes an effective balance between silky soul and gospel-tinged funk on all the tracks. The obvious standout is the title tune, a mid-paced invitation to romance that frames McCrae's seductive vocal with stately horns and churning, infectious percussion. The end result is downright hypnotic and it deservedly became a massive hit on both the R&B and pop charts during 1975. None of the remaining tracks are as instantly infectious as the title hit, but they all make for fine listening: "Move Me Baby" is a gently-loping funk jam built on some silky keyboard riffs, and "Your Love Is Worse Than a Cold Love" is a convincing declaration of frustrated passion that gets a gutsy, gospel-tinged treatment from McCrae. Trivia fans will also want to take note that Harry Casey of KC and the Sunshine Band lent a hand on the production of "Move Me Baby." However, the album's unsung gem is "90% Of Me Is You": this hypnotic tune is a grand showcase for McCrae's emotive skills, allowing her to unfold a tale of emotional enslavement over a sleek backing track that balances yearning strings with a moody funk groove. All in all, Rockin' Chair is an exciting collection that will appeal to any fans of 1970s soul.

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