Uptown Festival/Disco Gardens

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Originally the brainchild of a soul music producer/executive, Shalamar's debut album Uptown Festival was a trite, tedious exercise in pungent disco-soul that was a painful listen from start to finish. Thankfully, producer/creator Dick Griffey went back to square one and replaced the session singers found on Uptown Festival with a trio of performers that brought much more to the table: vocal ability, presence, and the sense that Shalamar wasn't just another in a long line of anonymous studio acts put together by a producer using session musicians. While it would take until their next album, Big Fun, to really make a splash, some of the tracks on Disco Gardens are worthy of a listen by R&B enthusiasts including "Tossing, Turning and Swinging" and the infectious " "Take That to the Bank." While Disco Gardens is at least palatable, the best was certainly yet to come for the trio.

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