Sunday, September 29, 2013

Tom Browne - Rockin' Radio

Today (September 29th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Rockin’ Radio, the fifth studio album from New York City musician Tom Browne. This trumpeter hit the recording scene in 1979 an made a big splash on the US Billboard R&B charts in the early 80’s.

Side one opens with the title track written by Maurice Starr and Michael Jonzun. “Rockin’ Radio” opens with a trumpet fanfare before sliding into a synth-infused dance groove. It utilizes a technique of voice distortion to further give the song a truly cosmic vibe.

“Cruisin’” continues in a similar dance-jam groove, but with a more down to Earth sound. I really like the pounding percussion and the “scratched in” vocal snippets.

“Turn It Up (Come on Y’all)”, a celebration of music, is made for booming from the speakers. Evan Rogers is the lead vocalist here.

“Angeline” slows things down with a more contemporary jazz sound.

Side two begins with “Brighter Tomorrow” and features a wonderful female vocalist named Carol Woods.

Browne gives his own instrumental version of “Never My Love”, the 1967 hit by the Association.

“Mr. Business” features vocals by Marjorie Barnes.

“Feel Like Making Love” is an instrumental cover of the Bad Company hit from 1975. The writing credits here are under the names Bernard Rogers (for Paul Rogers) and Ralph Jeffrey (for Mick Ralphs). I listened to this one a few times over and this jazz version definitely makes it a whole different kind of song.

The 2013 CD release of the album included remix versions of the first two tracks as well as another called “Bye Gones”.

I have to thank my online buddy Herc for turning me on to this record. From reading the blog, he picked up on the kinds of records that really stuck with me over the years and knew this one would be right up my alley. What Tom Browne did here on Rockin’ Radio reminds me a lot of what Herbie Hancock a month earlier with Future Shock. There is a lot of great grooves to dance to, fusing jazz with the 80’s new-wave elements. So, if you liked the latter as I did, I think you’ll like this record too.

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