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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Rick James

Collection of Rick James

In the late '70s, when the fortunes of Motown Records seemed to be flagging, Rick James came along and rescued the company, providing funky hits that updated the label's style and saw it through into the mid-'80s. Actually, James had been with Motown earlier, though nothing had come of it. After growing up in Buffalo and running away to join the Naval Reserves, he ran away from the Navy to Toronto, where he was in a band with future Buffalo Springfield members Neil Young and Bruce Palmer, and with Goldy McJohn, later of Steppenwolf. As the Mynah Birds, they signed to Motown and recorded, though no record was ever released.

James had a journeyman's career playing bass in various groups before signing again to Motown as an artist, songwriter, and producer. His first single, "You and I" (May 1978), topped the R&B charts and reached the pop Top 40. "Mary Jane" (September 1978) was another hit. Both were on James' debut album, Come Get It! (June 1978), which went gold. Subsequent efforts were not as successful, though Bustin' Out of L Seven (January 1979) featured the R&B hit "Bustin' Out" (April 1979). James returned to form with the number one R&B hit "Give It to Me Baby" (March 1981), featured on the million-selling Street Songs (April 1981), which also featured the hit "Super Freak."

James turned his production attention to resuscitating the career of the Temptations, recently returned to Motown, and "Standing on the Top" (April 1982), credited to the Temptations featuring Rick James, was an R&B Top Ten. (He also produced recordings by Teena Marie and the Mary Jane Girls.) James' follow-up to Street Songs was the gold-selling Throwin' Down (May 1982), which featured the hit "Dance Wit' Me." The title song of Cold Blooded (August 1983) became James' third R&B number one, and the album also featured his hit duet with Smokey Robinson, "Ebony Eyes." James' greatest-hits album Reflections (August 1984) featured the new track "17" (June 1984), which also became a hit. Glow (April 1985) contained Top Ten R&B singles in the title track and "Can't Stop," which was featured in the summer movie blockbuster Beverly Hills Cop. The Flag (June 1986) featured the hit "Sweet and Sexy Thing" (May 1986).

James left Motown for the Reprise division of Warner Bros. Records as of the album Wonderful (July 1988), which featured his number one R&B hit "Loosey's Rap," on which he was accompanied by rapper Roxanne Shante. Nevertheless, his "punk funk" didn't seem to rest comfortably with the trend toward rap/hip-hop. In 1989, James charted briefly with a medley of the Drifters hits "This Magic Moment" and "Dance With Me." In 1990, MC Hammer scored a massive hit with "U Can't Touch This," which consisted of his rap over the instrumental track of "Super Freak." That should have made for a career rebirth, but James was plagued by drug and legal problems that found him more frequently in court and in jail rather than in the recording studio. The majority of his legal woes behind him, James returned in 1997 with Urban Rapsody, which didn't yield any hits but was well accepted by critics. Rick James died of a heart attack on August 6, 2004, at his Los Angeles home. Allmusic by William Ruhlmann

Album: Come Get It! (1978)

01. Stone City Band, Hi!
02. You and I
03. Sexy Lady
04. Dream Maker
05. Be My Lady
06. Mary Jane
07. Hollywood
08. Stone City Band, Bye!

Album: Bustin' Out of L Seven (1979)

01. Bustin' Out
02. High On Your Love Suite / One Mo Hit (Of Your Love)
03. Love Interlude
04. Spacey Love
05. Cop 'N' Blow
06. Jefferson Ball
07. Fool On The Street

Album: Fire It Up (1979)

01. Fire It Up
02. Love Gun
03. Lovin' You Is a Pleasure
04. Love in the Night
05. Come into My Life
06. Stormy Love
07. When Love Is Gone

Album: Garden of Love (1980)

01. Big Time0
02. Don't Give up on Love
03. Island Lady
04. Gettin' It On
05. Summer Love
06. Mary Go 'Round
07. Gettin' It On (In The Sun)

Album: Street Songs (1981)

01. Give It to Me Baby
02. Ghetto Life
03. Make Love to Me
04. Mr. Policeman
05. Super Freak
06. Fire and Desire
07. Call Me Up
08. Below the Funk (Pass the J)

Album: Throwin' Down (1982)

01. Dance Wit' Me
02. Money Talks
03. Teardrops
04. Throwdown
05. Standing on the Top
06. Hard to Get
07. Happy
08. 69 Times
09. My Love

Album: Cold Blooded (1983)

01. U Bring the Freak Out
02. Cold Blooded
03. Ebony Eyes
04. 1, 2, 3 (You, Her and Me)
05. Doin' It
06. New York Town
07. P.I.M.P. the S.I.M.P.
08. Tell Me (What You Want)
09. Unity

Album: Reflections (1984)

01. 17
02. Oh What a Night (4 Luv)
03. You Turn Me On
04. Fire and Desire
05. Bustin' Out (On Funk)
06. You and I
07. Mary Jane
08. Dance Wit' Me
09. Give It to Me Baby
10. Super Freak

Album: Glow (1985)

01. Can't Stop
02. Spend The Night With Me
03. Melody Make Me Dance
04. Somebody (The Girl's Got)
05. Glow
06. Moon Child
07. Sha La La La La (Come Back Home)
08. Rock And Roll Control
09. Glow (Reprise)

Album: The Flag (1986)

01. Freak Flag
02. Forever And A Day
03. Sweet And Sexy Thing
04. Free To Be Me
05. Save It For Me
06. Freak Flag
07. R U Experienced
08. Funk In Amerika / Silly Little Man
09. Slow And Easy Interlude
10. Slow And Easy
11. Rick's Raga
12. Painted Pictures
13. Freak Flag

Album: Wonderful (1988)

01. Wonderful
02. Judy
03. Loosey's Rap
04. So Tight
05. Sexual Luv Affair
06. Love's Fire
07. I Believe in It
08. In the Girls' Room
09. Hypnotize
10. Sherry Baby
11. Hot Summer Nights

Album: Bustin' Out: The Very Best of Rick James (1994)

Disc 1

01. You and I
02. Mary Jane
03. Dream Maker
04. Bustin' Out (On Funk)
05. Love Gun
06. Big Time
07. Give It to Me Baby
08. uper Freak
09. Ghetto Life
10. Fire and Desire
11. Standing on the Top
12. Hard to Get
13. She Blew My Mind (69 Times)
14. Dance Wit' Me

Disc 2

01. Teardrops
02. Cold Blooded
03. U Bring the Freak Out
04. Ebony Eyes
05. 17
06. You Turn Me On
07. Glow
08. Moonchild
09. Divine Love (So Fine)
10. Serious Love (Spend the Night)
11. Starship
12. Down by Law
13. Medley

Album: The Ultimate Collection (1997)

01. Cold Blooded
02. Give It to Me Baby
03. You and I
04. Mary Jane
05. Super Freak
06. Dance Wit' Me
07. Make Love to Me
08. Love Gun
09. Bustin' Out
10. High on Your Love Suite: One Mo Hit (Of Your Love)
11. Ghetto Life
12. Ebony Eyes
13. Fire and Desire

Album: Urban Rapsody (1997)

01. Urban Rapsody
02. West Coast Thang
03. Somebody's Watching You
04. Back In You Again
05. Turn It Out
06. Good Ol Days
07. Player's Way
08. Never Say You Love Me
09. It's Time
10. So Soft So Wet
11. Bring On The Love
12. Mama's Eyes
13. Soul Sista
14. Favorite Flava
15. Urban Rhapsody (Reprise)

Album: Anthology (2002)

Disc 1

01. You and I
02. Mary Jane
03. Hollywood
04. Bustin' Out (On Funk)
05. Fire It Up
06. Love Gun
07. Come Into My Life
08. When Love Is Gone
09. Big Time
10. Island Lady
11. Give It to Me Baby
12. Super Freak
13. Fire and Desire

Disc 2

01. Dance Wit' Me
02. Standing on the Top [12-Inch Version]
03. Hard to Get
04. Happy
05. 69 Times
06. My Love
07. U Bring the Freak Out
08. Cold Blooded
09. Ebony Eyes
10. P.I.M.P. the S.I.M.P.
11. 17 [Single Version]
12. Glow
13. Moon Child
14. Sweet and Sexy Thing
15. Loosey's Rap

Album: The Definitive Collection (2006)

01. You And I
02. Mary Jane
03. Bustin' Out (On Funk)
04. High On Your Love Suite/ One Mo Hit (Of Your Love)
05. Love Gun
06. Big Time
07. Give It To Me Baby
08. Super Freak (Part 1)
09. Fire And Desire
10. Standing On The Top, Part 1
11. Dance Wit' Me
12. Cold Blooded
13. Ebony Eyes
14. 17
15. Can't Stop
16. Glow
17. Loosey's Rap

Album: Deeper Still (2007)

01. Deeper Still
02. Guinnevere
03. Stop It
04. Taste
05. Stroke
06. Do You Wanna Play
07. Not Alone
08. Sapphire
09. Maybe
10. Secrets
11. Funk Wit Me


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