Love Unlimited Orchestra

White Gold

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Even though the Love Unlimited Orchestra was originally assembled to provide instrumentation for Barry White's Love Unlimited side project, the band was a heavy chart hitter for four years. White Gold is the band's third 1974 release and, though it cannot eclipse their debut, Rhapsody in White, still it would take them through the beginning of 1976. White pulls out the tried-and-true formula across this album, which is loaded with the expected orchestral numbers -- heavy on the strings, of course, and interspersed with White's own vocal nuggets. The problem is, however, how many times can this really play out? Rhapsody in White remains the quintessential Unlimited sound and everything after that is just cream cheese filler. But if that's what the masses want.... "Satin Soul" was the only track to flip off the album and onto the singles chart, and it is relatively sweet, but the real gem in this album comes one track later. "Always Thinking of You," penned by Ray Parker, Jr., is a much stronger song. It's rich, full of life, and has a great groove. One other track worth spinning is the horn-driven and funkified "You Make Me Feel Like This (When You Touch Me)." The rest of the album, unfortunately, is a throwaway. But still it cannot be denied; at the end of the party, no matter how good or bad, Love Unlimited Orchestra provided a sound that was integral to the decade and a service to purveyors of shag carpets and crackling fireplaces everywhere.

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