Friday, 4 April 2014

Funky Fusion: Side Effect's What You Need (1976)

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Side Effect

The birth of Side Effect began in the year 1972 with founder and leader Augie Johnson and members Lomita Johnson, Jim Gilstrap, Gregory Matta and Louie Patton.
Sylvia Nabors did an excellent job on the first album, but by the time "What You Need" was recorded, Helen Lowe, now gospel superstar Helen Baylor, was the new vocalist. In 1977, Lowe was replaced by Sylvia St. James. St. James was replaced in 1979 by Miki Howard. Howard left the group for a solo career in 1985. The group recruited Elaine Gibbs for its 1995 comeback album.
Nowadays members are:
Augie Johnson (Founder & Leader)
Milton Ellis (1st Tenor)
Anthony Hicks (1st & 2nd Tenor, Baritone, Bass)
Vernon Woods (1st & 2nd Tenor, Bass)
From Discogs

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''What You Need''
( LP Fantasy Records, 1976 )
Catalog # F-9513

Tracklisting & Hide Credits:
A1 Always There
Vocals – Helen Lowe 5:04
A2 Keep That Same Old Feeling 7:06
A3 Time Has No Ending
Vocals – Gregory Matta 3:55
A4 S.O.S
Vocals – Helen Lowe 4:06
B1 Honky Tonk Scat 3:45
B2 Finally Found Someone
Vocals – Augie Johnson 2:53
B3 Changes
Vocals – Louie Patton 3:36
B4 Life Is What You Make It
Vocals – Augie Johnson 2:54
B5 I Know You Can
Vocals – Augie Johnson 6:21
Credits:Producer – Wayne Henderson

Format:Vinyl, LP, Album
Released in a gatefold sleeve with lyrics printed in the inner fold out area.

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''Always There''

Side Effect changed female leads with practically every album, all the while maintaining a sophisticated jazz-imbued sound that transcended the disco market at which it aimed. The soul vocal group's eponymous 1975 first release for Fantasy Records featured Sylvia Nabors alongside stalwarts Augie Johnson, Gregory Matta, and Louis Patton. That disc is herein coupled with the quartet's 1976 sophomore Fantasy effort, What You Need, on which Nabors was replaced by Helen LaRue Lowe (who'd begun her recording career a decade earlier as 13-year-old soul singer Little Helen and, after Side Effect, reemerged as gospel star Helen Baylor). Sylvia St. James and Miki Howard were future leads, but the Lowe edition was the most successful, giving Side Effect the biggest of its nine R&B chart hits with the No. 22 "Keep That Same Old Feeling." That catchy tune was penned by the group's producer, trombonist Wayne Henderson, who'd initially recorded it some months earlier with the Crusaders--and, using the pseudonym "Big Daddy," solos on the Side Effect version.
From Concord Music Group

Side Effect reached its creative peak with the Wayne Henderson-produced What You Need, which was the group's second album as well as its best one. This time, the songs weren't simply decent -- they were excellent, and Side Effect had a gem of a female vocalist to help bring them to life. The quartet's new female singer was Helen Lowe, who had replaced Sylvia Nabors. While Nabors was competent, the brassy, big-voiced Lowe was a treasure -- and she shows herself to be major asset on the hit "S.O.S." and a remake of Ronnie Laws' "Always There," which was originally a soul-jazz instrumental in 1975 but becomes a gutsy vocal tune thanks to added lyrics by Paul Allen. Equally strong are the funky "Honky Tonk Scat," the mournful ballad "Changes," and a cover of the Crusaders' "Keep That Same Old Feeling." Regrettably, What You Need was Lowe's only album with Side Effect, and it's equally regrettable that she didn't go on to become huge as a solo artist.
By Alex Henderson (AMG)

Quite possibly the greatest album ever from Side Effect – a wonderful set that mixes their soulful harmonies with some killer jazz funk from Wayne Henderson! The album may be the most perfect realization of the groove that Henderson was going for during his At Home Productions years – lots of funky fusion in the instrumentation, but all directed towards a tighter, more soul-based style – that perfect contribution that Fantasy Records made to the world in the 70s – after labels like Blue Note and Columbia first started setting things down. Whatever the chronology, though, this set's a standout no matter how you slice it – damn catchy tunes, incredible vocals, and a set of rhythms that are every bit as hip today as they were back when first recorded – really genre-defining grooves that you'll definitely recognize in the album's classics "Always There" and "Keep That Same Old Feeling" – and will go on to love in the cuts "Life Is What You Make It", "Changes", "I Know You Can", "SOS", "Time Has No Ending", "Finally Found Someone", and "Honky Tonk Scat".
© 1996-2011, Dusty Groove America, Inc.

what you need_label

''Keep That Same Old Feeling''

Biography by Alex Henderson (AMG):
If the O'Jays, the Dramatics, or Bloodstone had added a female singer and incorporated bebop-influenced harmonies, they might have sounded something like Side Effect -- a distinctive soul and funk vocal quartet of the '70s and early '80s. Side Effect was never a big name in R&B -- and its material wasn't as consistently strong as that of the O'Jays -- but it did have a recognizable and appealing sound. The group was formed in Los Angeles in May 1972, when it started out as an all-male trio and consisted of Louis Patton, Gregory Matta, and leader Augie Johnson. The latter had been singing since childhood -- in fact, Johnson was among the kids who sang on Frank Sinatra's 1959 hit "High Hopes." Side Effect became a quartet when, in 1974, Johnson, Patton, and Matta decided to add a female vocalist and hired L.A. native Sylvia Nabors. In 1975, Side Effect signed with Fantasy and recorded its self-titled debut album, which was, like subsequent efforts, produced by Wayne Henderson of Crusaders fame. By the time Side Effect recorded its second album, What You Need, in 1976, Nabors had been replaced by Helen Lowe. Then, in 1977, Lowe was replaced by Sylvia St. James, who recorded with the group in 1977 and 1978. St. James' subsequent replacement was Miki Howard, a talented singer who sang with the group for a few years before signing with Atlantic in 1986 and becoming well known as a solo artist.

Original post: 19/Feb/2008

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Dusty Groove
Concord Music Group

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