Friday, October 25, 2013

Ray Parker Jr. - Woman Out of Control

This week (October 27th) marks the thirtieth anniversary of Woman Out of Control, the second solo studio album from Ray Parker Jr. Following the previous year's The Other Woman (click here for that review), this 1983 release charted at number 45 on the US Billboard Album chart and number 18 on the US Billboard R&B chart.

The title track, a story about a wild young woman, kicks off side one. "Woman Out of Control", the second single, stalled at number 71 on the US Billboard R&B chart.

"Electronic Lover" is a kicking dance jam with a very funky bass line. The lyrics tap into the growing popularity of personal computers and game systems in the early 80’s.

The seven-and-a-half minute "Invasion" sounds like it stepped right out of an early 80’s video arcade. The funky track warns of a playboy who is only after one thing - sexual conquest. The song remind me a little bit of Prince as well from the 1999 era.

Things slow down with the next track. The smooth and sensual "In the Heat of the Night", the third single, reached number 64 on the US Billboard R&B chart. I like the percussion on this tale of giving in to temptation.

Side two starts with mid-tempo "I Don't Wanna Know".

The first single was "I Still Can't Get Over Loving You", probably the most known track from the album. It hit number 89 in Australia, number 48 in New Zealand, and number 26 in Canada; here in the US it went to number 12 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the R&B charts and number 10 on the Adult Contemporary chart. The lyrics of this mid-tempo tune tell of a sensitive guy who still misses his former love.

"N2U2" is a grooving dance track in that it is completely instrumental. Parker plays all of the parts, including the grinding guitar rhythm and sweet synth lines.

Things slow down one more time for the final track "She Still Feels the Need". It tells the sad tale of a lonely, single woman who is desperate need for loving. But unlike a man, a woman who hooks up with strangers is considered a tramp.

The 2012 CD release shuffled the original vinyl track order as noted above and included an extended version of "Jack and Jill (Back Up the Hill)".

I had to dig around a bit to listen to most of Woman Out of Control; it is one of those early 80’s albums that are currently not available on most of the streaming places. And that is definitely a bummer as Ray Parker Jr. crafted some solid R&B tunes on this record. He had a clear handle on both amazing dance beats and beautiful ballads.


HERC said...

Parker had been on a hot streak in my book since 1978's Raydio. Skipped the singles and bought each and every album they put out from 1978-1981 then proceeded to buy Parker's solo joints from 1982-1985 when he issued Girls Are More Fun and it's more than a little homophobic title track.

Something innately groovy and laid back about most of his work but I like the Raydio stuff better than his solo stuff, which is often heavy-handed and horndoggy. We get it: you like the ladies and they like you.

After a cooling off period I picked up a greatest hits album from one of the record clubs for $1.99 (with $4.99 shippng and handling) and then the expanded 12 track Ghostbusters disc later on. Got Raydio 2fer in 2010 and then in 2012, bless their hearts, Funky Town Grooves put out other two Raydio discs in expanded versions as well as his his first two solo discs, also with bonus tracks.

I have acquired nearly a dozen discs from Funky Town Grooves over the past 18 months including discs from Andre Cymone, Tom Browne, Champaign, Dazz Band, Jermaine Jackson, Louis Johnson (of the Brothers Johnson) and Nona Hendryx. Tip: If you see something you like, pre-order it. Their stuff usually sells out quick. Or you can take your chances that it won't sell-out and pick it up at a clearance price equal to and below the pre-order discounted price. I've scored discs both ways. Just be warned that they will bombard your inbox like crazy, keeping you well informed of pre-orders and clearances.

A session guitarist before, during and after his solo career, Ray is in credits for both Cher's new album and Memphis, the Boz Scaggs disc of covers that came out earlier this year. His prior credits include Barry White, Marvin Gaye, Leo Sayer, Diana Ross, The Poisnter Sisters and the Carpenters. His guitar playing is also featured on some prominent Westcoast albums by Bill Champlin, Bill LaBounty and Airplay.

Thanks for sharing this disc today. While I did not pull up the album to listen to, I did enjoy a few Raydio songs.

Martin Maenza said...

Herc, thanks for your comments. I will have to check out Funky Town Grooves (I was not aware of them).