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Saturday, May 26, 2012


Collection of Change

European-American collaborations were not uncommon during the disco and post-disco eras. Donna Summer's work with Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte was most prominent and groundbreaking, while Change was among the most noteworthy -- yet somewhat overlooked -- international acts to spring up during the early ‘80s. Driven by Guadeloupian producer Jacques Fred Petrus and Italian partner Mario Malavasi, Change is most commonly associated with “The Glow of Love,” a 1980 single featuring Luther Vandross over a wistful Chic-like production. Through a series of minor transformations -- a shifting array of vocalists and behind-the-scenes associates -- the group released 11 other charting singles from 1980 through 1985, as well as six charting albums, two of which peaked in the Top Ten of Billboard’s R&B Albums chart.

When Petrus and Malavasi conceptualized Change, they had several projects under their belts, including Macho, Midnight Band, Revanche, and Peter Jacques Band. They brought in guitarist Paolo Gianolio and bassist Davide Romani, composed instrumentals, then looked to the U.S. for an impressive crop of lyricists and vocalists -- Wayne Garfield (Roy Ayers, Candi Staton), Tanyayette Willoughby (Twennynine), Jocelyn Brown (Musique, Inner Life), and Luther Vandross (Chic, Gregg Diamond Bionic Boogie). The result, Glow of Love, reached number ten on the R&B chart, driven by “Glow of Love” and “Searching” (with Vandross as lead vocalist, just prior to his solo breakthrough), “Angel in My Pocket” (a fusion of electronic Italo disco and Chic-style elegance led by Brown), and “A Lover’s Holiday” (boasting the type of snappy, upbeat group vocal that became a Petrus trademark through productions for High Fashion, the B.B. & Q. Band, and the Ritchie Family).

Some of the material for the group’s second album was written with Vandross in mind, but the singer and Petrus could not agree on contract issues, allowing James “Crab” Robinson -- who had recorded with Lonnie Liston Smith, Norman Connors, and Michal Urbaniak -- to enter the fold as a lead vocalist. While Vandross was still present in the background, Robinson was showcased, as was an assortment of females that included Brown (then credited as Jocelyn Shaw), Diva Gray, and Ullanda McCullough. That album, Miracles, was released in 1981 and repeated Glow of Love's feat, managing to top out at number nine with a relatively unique sound -- remarkably sleek, yet rhythmically robust -- highlighted by the number one club-chart triad “Paradise,” “Hold Tight,” and “Heaven of My Life.”

Compared to the group’s first two albums, Sharing Your Love (1982) and This Is Your Time (1983) were holding-pattern releases without a great deal of progression, though minor hits were spun off from both sets. Malavasi, Romani, and Robinson departed. Petrus responded in a shrewd way by hiring ex-Time members Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who were just starting to hit their stride with the S.O.S. Band and Cheryl Lynn, to produce 1984’s Change of Heart. The title song, featuring Deborah Cooper, reached number seven on the R&B chart, while newer fellow member Rick Brennan was used to best effect on “You Are My Melody,” a midtempo song that didn’t chart in the U.S. but stands among the group’s best output.

Timmy Allen, who also had a hand in the writing and production of Change of Heart, wrote three-fourths of 1985’s Turn on Your Radio and co-produced the album with Petrus. Its singles did not perform well, though there was some solid material, such as “Mutual Attraction” -- a song that could have held its own beside some of the year’s most advanced R&B, from Maze’s “Twilight” to Loose Ends' “Magic Touch.” Other songs, like the ballad “You’ll Always Be Part of Me,” resembled Jam and Lewis/S.O.S. Band outtakes. It would be the group’s last recording under the guidance of Petrus; the producer was murdered in 1987 at his Guadeloupe villa by a disgruntled tourist who, earlier that evening, had been denied entrance into Petrus’ night club. A few years later, Romani and a handful of fellow producers and musicians made another Change album -- a set of adequate, sophisticated, turn-of-the-‘90s R&B with some club grooves -- but it was shelved and didn’t see release until 2009 as Change Your Mind. The group’s 1980-1985 releases were reissued in a number of forms throughout the ‘90s and 2000s via labels like Rhino, Wounded Bird, and BBR. Allmusic by Andy Kellman

Album: The Glow Of Love (1980)

01. A Lover's Holiday
02. It's A Girl's Affair
03. Angel In My Pocket
04. Glow Of Love
05. Searching
06. The End
07. Searching (Parkside Remix)

Album: Miracles (1981)

01. Paradise
02. Hold Tight
03. Your Move
04. Stop for Love
05. On Top
06. Heaven of My Life
07. Miracles

Album: Sharing Your Love (1982)

01. Very Best in You
02. Hard Times (It's Gonna Be Alright)
03. Oh What a Night
04. Promise Your Love
05. Everything and More
06. Sharing Your Love
07. Take You to Heaven
08. Keep on It
09. You're My Number 1
10. You're My Girl

Album: This Is Your Time (1983)

01. Got to Get Up
02. This Is Your Time
03. Angel
04. Magical Night
05. Stay'n Fit
06. Tell Me Why
07. You'll Never Realize
08. Don't Wait Another Night

Album: Change of Heart (1984)

01. Say You Love Me Again
02. Change of Heart
03. Warm
04. True Love
05. You Are My Melody
06. Lovely Lady
07. Got My Eyes on You
08. It Burns Me Up

Album: Turn On Your Radio (1985)

01. Turn on Your Radio
02. Let's Go Together
03. Examination
04. You'll Always Be Part of Me
05. Oh What a Feeling
06. Mutual Attraction
07. Love the Way You Love Me
08. If You Want My Love

Album: The Very Best Of Change (1998)

01. A Lover's Holiday
02. Searching
03. The Glow of Love
04. Paradise
05. Hold Tight
06. The Very Best in You
07. Hard Times (It's Gonna Be Alright)
08. This Is Your Time
09. Don't Wait Another Night
10. Change of Heart
11. You Are My Melody
12. Say You Love Me Again
13. Turn on Your Radio
14. Let's Go Together

Album: The Final Collection (2007)


01. A Lover's Holiday
02. Paradise
03. The Very Best In You
04. Magical Night
05. You Are My Melody
06. Let's Go Together
07. The Glow Of Love
08. Hold Tight
09. Oh What A Night
10. Tell Me Why
11. Change Of Heart
12. It's A Girl Affair
13. Your Move
14. Lovely Lady


01. This Is Your Time
02. Oh What A Feeling (The Paul Hardcastle Re-Mix)
03. Searching
04. On Top
05. Got To Get Up
06. Hard Times (It's Gonna Be Alright)
07. Angel In My Pocket
08. Don't Wait Another Night
09. Heaven Of My Life
10. Mutual Attraction
11. Say You Love Me Again
12. Angel
13. Promise Your Love
14. Miracles



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