The Whispers

The Whispers [1979]

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As a group who have recorded since the late '60s, the Whispers seemed to often be textbook journeyman who were one bum steer away from obscurity. Throughout the '70s they got their success by way of sporadic, great tracks like 1970's sad-sack anthem, "Gotta Do Wrong," and 1976's "Living Together (In Sin)." By the late '70s, the group had been maintaining a consistent following for some years. As Soul Train Records became Solar, the group and producer Dick Griffey finally attained a definable sound after much trial and error. The Whispers was their first big album effort. This starts off with "A Song for Donny," a song written by Carrie Lucas that serves as elegy to Donny Hathaway. The ballad, set to the melody of Hathaway's "This Christmas," is touching, apt, and believable. Not so is a take on "My Girl" which pointlessly put the track to a disco beat. By this point, Solar was crafting its own sound. The biggest hit here is "And the Beat Goes On." A brilliant mix of disco's enthusiasm and synth-derived flash, it's proof that the Whispers got to the '80s faster than any of their contemporaries. The Leon Sylvers-produced "Out The Box" is almost as good. Although the group is known for its dance tracks, they had equal success with ballads. The neoclassic "Lady," written by group member Nicholas Caldwell, features a smooth vocal from Wallace "Scotty" Scott. The last track, "Welcome Into My Dream," with its romantic arrangement, stays this side of smarmy and acquitted by the sedulous guitar fills and the well-intended vocals. The Whispers isn't a great album but it more than set the standard for their subsequent work.

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