Between 1974 and 1981, Tavares – brothers Ralph, Arthur (Pooch), Antone (Chubby), Feliciano (Butch) and Perry (Tiny) – recorded ten albums for Capitol Records during which time the group established itself as smooth purveyors of R&B, soul, funk and pop. Cherry Red’s SoulMusic Records imprint has reissued six of those titles in the past, and the seventh title in the series has just arrived: 1977’s Love Storm.
Love Storm, Album No. 5, was produced, like its predecessor Sky High, by Freddie Perren. On Sky-High! (reissued in 2011 by SoulMusic), Perren had supplied Tavares with his song “Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel,” co-written with Keni St. Lewis. It reached No. 15 Pop/No. 3 R&B in the United States and No. 4 Pop in the United Kingdom, and propelled the album to a U.S. Top 20 R&B and Top 25 Pop. Follow-up single “Don’t Take Away the Music” was almost as successful, reaching the same No. 4 plateau in the U.K. and making the U.S. R&B Top 20 and Pop Top 40. Naturally, expectations were high for Love Storm, and though it didn’t make the pop inroads that Sky-High! did, it happily follows the same pop and soul blueprint – with a dash of disco for good measure.
The biggest success off Love Storm was Perren and St. Lewis’ strikingly infectious album opener “Whodunit,” in which the brothers plead to detectives from Sherlock Holmes and Charlie Chan to Kojak and Baretta to find “who stole my baby!” With its catchy hook and upbeat groove, “Whodunit” reached the zenith of the U.S. R&B chart, almost cracked the Pop Top 20 (at No. 22) and continued Tavares’ winning streak in the U.K. where it reached No. 5.
Soul royalty appeared on Love Storm in the form of Freda Payne. The “Band of Gold” singer joined Tavares for the breezy “I Wanna See You Soon.” Butch contributed an original song co-written with St. Lewis, the wistful “Fool of the Year,” and a couple of covers were also featured on the album. “The Goings Up and the Comings Down” was penned by Jim Weatherly for Gladys Knight and the Pips, who scored hits with Weatherly’s “Midnight Train to Georgia” and “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me.” The album closer, the dreamy doo-wop of “Goodnight My Love,” was written by George Motola and John Marascalco, and became a Top 10 R&B hit for Jesse Belvin in 1956. “Goodnight,” released as the second single from the LP, made it to No. 14 R&B.
Love Storm fared respectably on the charts, reaching No. 15 R&B and No. 59 Pop. Freddie Perren would stick around to record one more album with Tavares, 1978’s Future Bound, but in the wake of its even less impressive performance, the group branched out to work with producers including Philadelphia’s Bobby Martin and Blood, Sweat and Tears founder Bobby Colomby. SoulMusic has added one bonus track to this reissue, the 1985 extended 12-inch remix by Ben Liebrand of “Whodunit” which layers electronic effects over Perren’s original track. Kevin Goins has supplied the excellent new liner notes which chronicle the history of the band and the album, while Alan Wilson has remastered.
Tavares’ Love Storm is available now from Cherry Red and SoulMusic Records!
- Keep in Touch
- I Wanna See You Soon (with Freda Payne)
- Fool of the Year
- Watchin’ the Woman’s Movement
- One Step Away
- Out of the Picture
- The Going Ups and the Coming Downs
- Goodnight My Love
- Whodunit (12-Inch Mix) (1985 Extended U.K. Remix from Capitol TAV 1, 1985)