The Epic 2017 Project #169: 170618
Mary Mary – Thankful (1999)
Thankful was Mary Mary’s debut studio album, released on May 2, 2000 through Columbia Records. It’s all about contemporary gospel, R&B, hip hop and soul and as a part of that, produced the smash crossover hit “Shackles (Praise You)”, which reached the top-ten in seven countries. This was closely followed by the single “I Sings”, which was also a significant hit—although it did not match the success of its predecessor.
The album established Mary Mary as one of the leading artists in contemporary Christian music, and won the duo a Grammy Award in 2001. It peaked at number one on the US Gospel Albums, number twenty-two on the US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and number fifty-nine on the US Billboard 200. On release, AllMusic gave it a grade of four and a half out of five stars and Cross Rhythms – the main Christian music publisher – a top 10/10.
The Epic 2017 Project #124: 170504
Michael Jackson – Thriller (1982)
Thriller is the sixth studio album by American singer Michael Jackson, released on November 30, 1982 in the United States by Epic Records and internationally by CBS Records.
The follow-up to Jackson’s successful previous studio album, Off the Wall (1979), Thriller explores genres similar to those of its predecessor, including pop, post-disco, rock and funk. Recording sessions for the album took place from April to November 1982 at Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles, with a production budget of $750,000. Quincy Jones produced the album, while Jackson wrote four of its nine songs.
In just over a year, Thriller became—and currently remains—the world’s best-selling album, with estimated sales of 65 million copies.
The Epic 2017 Project #066: 170307
En Vogue – Funky Divas (1992)
En Vogue’s second studio album was one of the best selling of 1992 peaking at over five million by the year end.
The lead single, “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It),” (featured here) became an instant hit, peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 4 in the UK Singles Chart. The accompanying video for “My Lovin'” won two MTV Video Music Awards. The song samples the funk guitar line of James Brown’s 1973 song “The Payback” from the album of the same name.
The Epic 2017 Project #043: 170212
Introducing the hardline according to Terence Trent D’Arby (1987)
Released in July 1987 on Columbia Records, Mr D’Arby’s debut became an instant number one smash in the UK, spending a total of nine weeks (non-consecutively) at the top of the UK Albums Chart. It was eventually certified 5 x Platinum (for sales of 1.5 million copies). Worldwide, the album sold a million copies within the first three days of going on sale. Success was slower in the U.S though. Released there in October 1987, it eventually peaked at number four on May 7, 1988 – the same week that the single “Wishing Well” hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
Other singles from the album included “If You Let Me Stay”, which was a top ten hit in the UK, and “Sign Your Name”, which reached #4 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #2 in the UK. A fourth single, “Dance, Little Sister”, reached the UK Top 20 as well.
I bought the album on vinyl when it first came out in the UK, primarily because it’s release was just 5 months after my eldest daughter’s birth – her first summer – and ‘If you all get to heaven’ was a song I just couldn’t get out of my head. Still can’t.
The Epic 2017 Project #040: 170209
Cold Specks – I predict a graceful expulsion (2012)
Cold Specks is the stage name of singer-songwriter Ladan Hussein, who was previously known as Al Spx. Her music has been described as doom-soul. The name Cold Specks is taken from a line in James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’…
Born all in the dark wormy earth, cold specks of fire, evil, lights shining in the darkness..
This, her debut album, was released on May 21, 2012, on Mute Records and Arts & Crafts in Canada.
The Epic 2017 Project #023: 170123
Aloe Blacc – Good things (2010)
I bought this one (like so many others over the years) on the strength of the main single release from it “I need a dollar’. That’s still the stand-out track, but there are more gems here as well so it’s worth a listen.
The Epic 2017 Project #014: 170114
Average White Band – Person to Person (1977)
I brought this double gatefold live album on vinyl for my wife’s 21st birthday back in 1980.
The Average White Band came from Dundee, Scotland. Formed in 1972, they had worldwide success as a funk and R&B band with a string of hits between 1974 and 1980. The biggest and most successful of these was the instrumental ‘Pick up the Pieces’ (1974) which now has the accolade of being the 15th most sampled tune in history. The band split in 1983 only to reform six years later. They still tour now, albeit with a vastly different line-up; Alan Gorrie (guitar) is the only original member.
The ‘Person to Person’ live album was recorded at the Tower Theatre and The Spectrum, Philadelphia, The Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh and The Colosseum, Cleveland.