LINER NOTES & ESSAYS
As a writer and music lover, fewer endeavors bring me more gratification than writing liner notes or essays that document the history of an album. Since 2010, I've penned more than 200 liner notes for CD re-issues of classic soul, R&B, pop, jazz, and disco by a number of labels, including Big Break Records (BBR), Cherry Red, Gold Legion, Demon Music Group, among others. For each essay, I interview the artist (when available), plus key personnel, including songwriters, producers, and musicians. I tell the story through their words and point of view. Below is just a sample of some of the re-issues that include my essays. Click on the cover and you'll see who I interviewed for the re-issue and when the album was re-released. Underneath the description, I've provided a link where you can find more information about where to get the re-issue. Click here to hear/view Qool DJ Marv's musical mix of my liner notes portfolio.
original label: Warner Bros. Records (1981) re-issue: Big Break Records (2015) interview with Al Jarreau
original label: Warner Bros. Records (1979) re-issue: Big Break Records (2015) interview with Valerie Simpson
original label: Planet Records (1983) re-issue: Big Break Records (2011) interviews with Anita Pointer, Ruth Pointer, Richard Perry, et. al BBR released a special two-disc deluxe edition of the Pointer Sisters' classic '83 album. It includes my essay in addition to a foreword I worked on with producer Richard Perry. This was the group's biggest commercial success. It stayed on the charts for two years and generated Top 10 hits, including "Jump (For My Love,""Automatic," and "Neutron Dance."
original label: ARC/Columbia (1980) re-issue: Big Break Records (2010) interviews with: Maurice White, Philip Bailey, Larry Dunn, Al McKay, Brenda Russell Earth, Wind & Fire's double LP was their first album of the '80s. Maurice White cites it as his favorite EWF album, which also includes one of his favorite EWF songs, "Turn It Into Something Good." I interviewed White and key band members plus songwriters like Brenda Russell who co-wrote a few songs with EWF.
original label: Epic (1985) re-issue label: Hot Shot (2012) interviews with Carly Simon, Don Was, Phil Ramone, Frank Filipetti, Andy Goldmark Carly Simon's first album for Epic was also her last. It's a fascinating behind-the-scenes story about what happened when Epic teamed Carly with 9 different producers. Carly was admirably candid about her feelings recording an album that was such a departure for her. I was thrilled to interview some of the producers who worked on the album.
original label: Geffen Records (1980) re-issue label: Driven By the Music (2014) interviews with Bruce Sudano, Harold Faltermeyer, Sylvetser Levay, Bill Champlin, Stephanie Spruill, and CJW archive interview with Donna Summer.
original label: Columbia (1979) re-issue: Lemon/Cherry Red interviews with Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, Stephen Bishop, Richard Page "This Is It" was the second song Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald wrote after "What a Fool Believes." My essay includes what exactly went through Kenny's mind when he won a Grammy for the song ... plus his song-by-song analysis of the album and insights from some of his esteemed co-writers.
original label: Warner Bros. (1978) re-issue label: Big Break Records (2014) interviews with George Benson, Randy Brecker, Andrew Kastner, David Lasley, Will Lee, Joe Mardin. Exclusive new comments from: Ava Cherry, Natalie Cole, Nikka Costa, N'Dea Davenport, Dionne Farris, Lisa Fischer, Roberta Flack, Penny Ford, Nona Hendryx, Cissy Houston, Miki Howard, Evelyn "Champagne" King, Ledisi, Paulette McWilliams, Melba Moore, Ruth Pointer, Rhonda Ross, Sandra St. Victor.
original label: Arista (1982) re-issue: Big Break Records (2012) interviews with Dionne Warwick, Barry Gibb, Clive Davis, Albhy Galuten This album was Dionne's major UK comeback. Barry Gibb and Albhy Galuten provided her some of the biggest UK hits of her career. Clive Davis brought them together. My essay tells the story behind a commercial peak in Dionne Warwick's career and a creative peak in Barry Gibb's career as a producer.
original label: Philadelphia International (1972) re-issue label: Big Break Records (2011) interviews with Eddie Levert, Walter Williams, Thom Bell, Phil Hurtt, Bunny Sigler, Bobby Eli The O'Jays debuted on Gamble & Huff's PIR label with the "Back Stabbers" album, a seminal release in Philly soul that included the hit title track and "Love Train" plus classic album cuts like "Sunshine" and "Who Am I." A privilege to interview Eddie, Walter, and some of the great figures behind Philly soul.
THE SALSOUL ORCHESTRA: The Salsoul Orchestra original label: Salsoul (1975) re-issue: Big Break Records (2012) This was the first album The Salsoul Orchestra released on Salsoul, which ushered in one of the most influential periods in dance music. I didn't interview anyone for my essay but I enjoyed piecing together the history behind The Salsoul Orchestra and its influence.
original label: Blue Note (1975) re-issue: Big Break Records (2013) interviews with Alan Bergman, Mike Stoller, Benard Ighner, Roger Kellaway, Jelsa Palao, Aziza, Dianne Reeves, Diane Schuur, and Dee Dee Bridgewater Carmen McRae's first album for Blue Note contained a stellar cast of songwriters, many of whom shared their recollections of working with the legendary vocalist. Also includes reflections by jazz greats who've been influenced by the singer.