Sunday, January 19, 2014

Rick James - Bustin’ Out of L Seven

Welcome to another edition of Seventies Sunday.

This month (January 26th) marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of Bustin’ Out of L Seven, the second studio album from Rick James. The album went Platinum and charted at number 16 on the US Billboard Album chart and number 2 on the US Billboard R&B chart in 1979.

Side one begins with “Bustin’ Out (On Funk)”; as a single it went to number 71 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 8 on the US Billboard R&B chart. This party anthem has a jazz-infused funk sound to it thanks to the horn section of saxophone, trombone and trumpet. The lyrics also refer to the marijuana stoner lifestyle which James unashamedly embraced.

The next three tracks make up the “High on Your Love Suite”. It begins with “One Mo Hit (of Your Love)”. The single version of the track went to number 72 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 12 on the US Billboard R&B chart. This up-beat, seven and a half minute long dance track blurs the lines between the feelings of being in love with those of drug induced euphoria.

The two minute “Love Interlude” is next. I can barely make out the intimate pillow-talk behind the piano, harp and horns, but I suspect it is James and Teena Marie.

It closes out with “Spacey Love”. This slow jam builds a bit on some of the previous track's melody, while James makes one of his heartfelt, soulful pleas to what appears to be Patti Labelle (she is named in the second verse along with reference to her fellow singers in Labelle (Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash) and the French phrase from "Lady Marmalade").

Side two opens with “Cop ‘n’ Blow”. Here, James is in full-player mode as he attempts to sway a specific lady. The phrase "cop and blow" comes from the street and refers to a pimp adding a new prostitute to his pool while losing another.

“Jefferson Ball” has the kind of fairy-tale prom vibe to it musically; parts of it remind me of Baroque period pieces. The lyrics tell of a guy and girl who have known each other since they were kids, and now he wants to get to know her in a Biblical sense.

“Fool on the Street”, the final single, reached number 35 on the US Billboard R&B chart. This up-tempo tune tells of a man whose heart was broken, played the fool by his lover. But he has found the strength to move forward, to better his life and hopefully find someone new. With over seven minutes to work, James and band really work out some smooth rhythms on this one.

As evidenced by the links below, I am a fan of Rick James' music. I got into his hits in the early 80's, and in recent years I have been filling in my music collection with his back catalog. When I was making my list for reviews for this month, I saw Bustin' Out of L Seven as a candidate for 1979 anniversary albums. Without ever hearing any of the record and without any hesitation, I went ahead and downloaded it from emusic. I was confident I would like it, and my assumption was quite correct. It is forty minutes of R&B-funk goodness.

For 1978’s Come Get It!, click here.

For 1981’s Street Songs, click here.

For 1982’s Throwin’ Down, click here.

For 1983’s Cold Blooded, click here.

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