Saturday, May 27, 2006

SYLVESTER - Rock the box (1984)

"They don't need me. They have Sylvester." -David Bowie after his San Francisco debut failed to sell out

Disco, Electro

Megatone records (Patrick Cowley)
The Cd "Rock The Box" contains the Lp "M-1015" (1984)

Keyboards and Producer - James 'Tip' Wirrick,and (also :Modern Rocketry,Cowley) Morey Goldstein,Ken Kessie
Backing Vocals - Lynette Hawkins Stephens (tracks: 02 to 04, 08) , Martha Wash (also appears on:Black Box, C + C Music Factory, Two Tons Of Fun, The Weather Girls)(tracks: 02 to 04, 06, 08) , Nathaniel Best (tracks: 02 to 04, 08)


01 Rock The Box
02 Lovin Is Really My Game
03 Sex
04 Shadow Of A Heart
05 Taking Love Into My Own Hands
06 Take Me To Heaven
07 How Do You Like Your Love
08 I Don't Wanna Think About It
09 Rock The Box (Purple Haze Acid House Mix)
10 Sex (An Ian Levine Remix)
11 Taking Love Into My Own Hands (Remix)
12 Take Me To Heaven (Remix)

Links to download: Part 1. Part 2.

Biography (part 2.)
In 1975 Sylvester returned to San Francisco and started his singing career over from scratch. In February of 1976 he made a business decision that would put him on the path to gold.
Martha Wash and Izora Armstead-Rhodes were a pair of XXL divas with pipes that filled in the gaps Sylvester's striking, yet sometimes thin, falsetto left, and with senses of comedic timing suitable for the stage show Sylvester envisioned. They had been in a Gospel group News Of The World, but soon became known as Two Tons of Fun, or simply Two Tons. They would successfully back Sylvester for years, then would go on to have their own recording career. (After changing their name to the Weather Girls they had the hit "It's Raining Men," and Wash would later have million sellers with the group C+C Music Factory.)
In 1977 Sylvester's self-titled debut came out on Fantasy. "Came out," unfortunately, would not be the right term, as the problem with this album is evident from the front cover. On it Sylvester is wearing a fairly conservative black shirt, black slacks and is wearing his hair short, neat and manly. There is a trace of lipstick and blush, but that too is fairly conservative. He is dressed as a sexy female genie, or something, on the back cover, but the damage had already been done. Mainstreaming Sylvester was not going to make him a big success, better to put the cards on the table from the get go.The album is pretty decent, overall. Most significant for Sylvester was that on this project he began working with Tip Wirrick, and their collaborations would prove fruitful in the near future.
The lead track, Ashford and Simpson's "Over and Over," became a big hit in England, and Sylvester's personality, what Rolling Stone called "pervasive gentleness," comes through throughout the album.The record is disco-esque at times, but it didn't have what it would take to really tear up any dance floor.

And comes Patrick Cowley. . .
Sylvester began work on the second album. He had written a ballad called "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" with Wirrick and recorded the demo. He knew that something was missing, and, after closely studying Disco music at the Billboard Dance Forum in 1978, he had some ideas. Soon after that, the group was performing at City Disco, The Bay Area's largest and most important Gay venue, and they played the demo for the lighting technician, Patrick Cowley. Cowley had been recording and performing in the Bay Area since '71, when he came from Rochester to study synthesizer at San Francisco College. Recently, he had done an experimental synth disco remix of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love" that was a local hit and soon became an international cult record. Cowley added synth overlays to "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)", and to a song called "Dance (Disco Heat)," and created the classic disco cuts that would anchor the next LP. Soon Cowley joined the troupe, and the group was soon to swelter in a hotter Disco heat of success than any of them could have dreamed of.
Both songs went gold in dramatic fashion. They were number one dance hits and brought Sylvester an armful of Billboard Disco Forum awards, the Dance music equivalent of Grammys. Soon Sylvester was undeniable, he was everywhere.
The success was well warranted. "Mighty Real" and "Dance" are two of the greatest disco songs ever released.Sylvester's voice describes the ecstasy of the disco, the love, passion and lust he feels for his partner on the dance floor, and the orgasmic intensity of the experience as a whole. His specific falsetto is never more powerful than it is here.
Fantasy would prepare two more releases in 1979, The Year Of Sylvester. Stars was a four song LP length release that was Sylvester's love letter to Disco.
The final recording project of the year was the live album, Living Proof, a recording of The Opera House concert. This was what he was most anxious for his fans to hear. He loved Disco, obviously, or at the very least, had a great understanding of it. Now that the world was aware of his talent as a singer, though, he longed to get closer to what he really wanted to do musically.
the album was not a huge seller and Sylvester didn't make the transition he wanted. Why did the album fail? Perhaps because of poor marketing, and certainly the incredibly weak and ugly cover art didn't help. But in all probability, the Black radio audience that embraced Patti and Aretha weren't ready to hear a man singing to another man and failed to see the universality of his passion. The album didn't make the top 100, but the phenomenal success of the live concerts and previous records kept him coasting. Still, there was some rough water on the horizon. . .

"This album of is full brilliant material with a mix a very interesting dance songs and a beautiful gospel ballad, "Shadow of a heart". The remixes are great as well. A must have for true Sylvester fans"


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