Norman Connors

Take It to the Limit

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Drummer and stellar lineup assembler Norman Connors landed on Arista for Take It to the Limit, an album that continued the man's embrace of smooth R&B and gradual abandonment of jazz. The roster here is extremely lengthy; not only is there a group numbering at about a dozen that's dubbed the Starship Orchestra, but there's well over 30 other (!) guests who pop in and out of the mix in various capacities. Both the title track (featuring Adaritha on vocals) and "Melancholy Fire" (Glenn Jones) rightfully cracked the Top 30 of the black singles chart, but a small clutch of other gems deserved similar achievements. "I Don't Need Nobody Else," sung by Al Johnson (arranger and conductor of half the album's cuts), sparkles brightly, while Adaritha's "Justify" is just as gorgeous as the album's hit singles. One minor disappointment is Leon Ware's set-closing "Everywhere Inside of Me," which falls toward the sappy side. One major dud is a plonking cover of Steely Dan's "Black Cow," which has inexplicably shown up on a number of Connors anthologies. Six out of eight ain't bad by any stretch.

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