L.T.D., or Love, Togetherness and Devotion, had carved out a niche in the crowded landscape of seventies funk and soul bands – in large part due to the soaring voice of its lead singer and drummer, Jeffrey Osborne. Four of the group’s albums blending funk, disco, and silky balladry, have just been collected on a new 2-CD set from Cherry Red’s Robinsongs imprint.
The ten-piece band from Greensboro, North Carolina had released two moderately successful albums on Los Angeles-based A&M Records before breaking through with their third LP, Love to the World. That album introduced the Skip Scarborough song “Love Ballad,” which became an R&B chart-topper and top 20 Pop entry on the Billboard Hot 100. Robinsongs’ new collection picks up in the aftermath of Love to the World with L.T.D.’s next four albums.
1977’s Something to Love bested the No. 7 placement of its predecessor by making it all the way to No. 1 of the Billboard R&B Albums chart and No. 21 Pop. It was helmed by a producer new to L.T.D., Philadelphia soul maestro Bobby Martin. But as L.T.D. was a self-contained band, Martin had no need to call upon his longtime MFSB cohorts. He did, however, bring his arrangement expertise to tracks such as “(Every Time I Turn Around) Back in Love Again,” which became L.T.D.’s biggest-ever single (No. 1 R&B/No. 4 Pop) and “Never Get Enough of Your Love” (No. 8 R&B/No. 56 Pop). Martin’s meld of dance music and sleek soul was an ideal match for the group, and he was re-enlisted for 1978’s Togetherness which continued in the vein of scorching funk and disco grooves. “Holding On (When Love Is Gone),” co-written by Jeffrey Osborne and guitarist John T. McGhee, became another R&B hit and reached a top 50 peak on the Hot 100. Osborne and pianist James E. Davis’ “We Both Deserve Each Other’s Love” made it to the R&B top 20, and the success of both was enough to propel the album to a No. 1 R&B/No. 21 Pop berth.
Bobby Martin’s third consecutive LP with L.T.D., Devotion, arrived on A&M in 1979. It charted three R&B singles including “Dance My Love,” “Stranger,” and “Dance ‘N’ Sing ‘N’,” and the album itself made it all the way to No. 5 R&B/No. 29 Pop. The Martin/L.T.D. partnership concluded their winning streak with the fourth and final LP collected here, 1980’s Shine On. Jeffrey Osborne and southern soul songwriter Sam Dees teamed to pen the top ten R&B hit ballad “Where Did We Go Wrong” while the title track, another ballad with a big chorus, was written by Jeffrey and Billy Osborne with Richard Kerr (Barry Manilow’s “Mandy,” Dionne Warwick’s “I’ll Never Love This Way Again”). It reached the top 20 of the R&B survey if not the pop heights of some of Kerr’s other tunes. Following the release of Shine On, Jeffrey Osborne felt confident enough to leave the band to start a solo career. His brother Billy left the line-up at the same time. Jeffrey re-emerged on A&M in 1982 with a self-titled album produced by George Duke, while L.T.D. released two more albums: 1981’s Love Magic (on A&M, co-produced by the band and Michael Stokes) and 1983’s For You (on the Montage label).
Robinsongs’ reissues have been remastered by Alan Wilson. The 12-page booklet contains liner notes by Charles Waring as well as photos and small images of the original album front covers. This 4-albums-on-2-CDs set can be ordered at the links below!
- Age of the Showdown
- (Won’t Cha) Stay with Me
- (Every Time I Turn Around) Back in Love Again
- You Come First at Last
- We Party Hearty
- If You’re In Need
- Never Got Enough of Your Love
- Make Someone Smile, Today!
- Material Things
- Holding On (When Love Is Gone)
- We Both Deserve Each Other’s Love
- You Must Have Known I Needed Love
- Don’t Stop Loving Me Now
- It’s Time to Be Real
- Concentrate on You
- You Fooled Me
- Together Forever
- Let’s All Live and Give Together
- One on One
- Share My Love
- Stand Up L.T.D.
- Say That You’ll Be Mine
- Dance ‘N’ Sing ‘N’
- Promise You’ll Stay
- Feel It
- You Gave Me Love
- Where Did We Go Wrong
- Will Love Grow
- Love Is What You Need
- Shine On
- Lovers Everywhere
- Lady Love
- Don’tcha Know
CD 1, Tracks 1-9 from Something to Love, A&M LP SP-4646, 1977
CD 1, Tracks 10-19 from Togetherness, A&M LP SP-4705, 1978
CD 2, Tracks 1-9 from Devotion, A&M LP SP-4771, 1979
CD 2, Tracks 10-18 from Shine On, A&M LP SP-4819, 1980