Beat Goes On offers two albums on one disc by guitarist Eric Gale, from 1979 and 1980, respectively. Both are notable but for separate reasons. The first record up, Part of You, extrapolates on the template of the CTI sound. Given that it was produced by Ralph MacDonald and arranged by William Eaton and Bernadette Randle, this should come as no surprise. It was recorded in a series of sessions with crack studio players that alternately include drummers Harvey Mason, Steve Gadd, and Idris Muhammad, bassists Anthony Jackson and Neil Jason, large horn and string sections, and guest appearances from Grover Washington, Jr. ("Lookin' Good") and Charles Earland ("Trio"). The set is a balance of polished jazz-funk numbers and beautifully orchestrated ballads. Touch of Silk, released in 1980, is by contrast a much more stripped-down affair. Produced by Allen Toussaint, who also composed five of the set's seven tunes, also held down most of the keyboard chores (save for a guest appearance by Earland), and there are various alternating horn players including Washington, Arthur Blythe, Gary Brown, and Harold Vick. David Barard is the bassist on the session and James Black plays drums on all but two tracks, which feature Muhammad. This groove-laden session allows Gale the opportunity to really shine as a soloist and showcase his bluesy roots. Toussaint's funky, soulful touch is all over the place, even in the most unlikely of places, like on a cover of Charlie Parker's "Au Privave," re-arranged and reimagined as a soul-jazz number. While these recordings were greeted with very mixed reviews at the time of their releases, they've held up extremely well over the decades and sound perhaps better today than they did at the time. They are sophisticated, clean, crisp, and imaginative, while remaining very accessible to the general listener. It should also be noted that BGO's remastering job is nothing short of stellar.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek