Still Loving You

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Still Loving You and Pains Of Love, the two self-released albums under Bay Area musician Lawrence Ross's Twilight moniker in 1981 and ’86 respectively have enjoyed near mythical “Grail” status among fanatic crate diggers. Considered stone soul/funk classics; copies have treaded for huge sums. Ross recorded and pressed his records on his own Galaxy Productions, and due to lack of funds or distribution let them disappear when pressings sold out. In 2010, Ubiquity’s Luv N’ Haight licensed them for re-release on CD and limited edition vinyl, thus allowing them to evaluated strictly on their musical merits.

Still Loving You was recorded for $1200, in seven one hour sessions with Ross playing almost everything himself save for the horn section and some backing vocals. The musical range and diversity of the material here is startling even now. Ross loved everything from Steely Dan, the Bee Gees, Doobie Brothers, bossa and samba, Quincy Jones, classic soul, funk and disco; his tunes and arrangements reflect his catholic taste. The album opens with the driving yet airy funk of “Play My Game”; it weaves disco and 70s soul seamlessly. “Scorpittiarus,” the lone track that received airplay in the Bay area, contains euphoric bossa choruses that echo Sergio Mendes and Deodato while adding a tightly arranged jazzy harmonies and a rhythm section right out of Jones' Body Heat. But it’s not only emulation, the spaciousness and crispness in Ross’s production and playing is nearly transcendent for its sense of celebration. It’s followed by the punchy dance floor track “We’ll Be Special,” with some tight acoustic guitar woven through layers of vocals, popping horn fills, a propulsive bassline, and just enough percussion to make it jump. The knotty changes--rhythmically and harmonically--on “Love’s The Way,” are sophisticated yet groove seamlessly. Ross's premise that music is and of itself a limitless possibility is born out here. Still Loving You's reputation as the holy grail of funk may not be exactly warranted, but it is a sophisticated set of exceptional quality and enduring appeal. The remix by Ross and original engineer Lyman White is also better than we had any right to expect. Investigate this.

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