Earlier this year, Cherry Red imprint Cherry Pop Records released an expanded edition of La Toya Jackson’s sophomore album My Special Love, bringing the LP to CD for the first time since a long out-of-print Japanese issue in the early 1990s.
Being a part of such a famous musical family, it was almost inevitable that La Toya would join her brothers in performing, whether she wanted to or not. She has said over the years how her father, Joe Jackson, heavily discouraged her from following any other life pursuits. La Toya joined The Jacksons onstage at age 16 and was featured on their ’70s variety show. By 1980, she had contributed a vocal part to their Triumph album and been signed via her father’s production deal to Polydor. Her self-titled debut album premiered in November of that year, produced primarily by drummer Ollie E. Brown (whose credits included Triumph). The album yielded two singles: “If You Feel The Funk,” a top 40 R&B/top 20 Disco entry and “Night Time Lover,” co-written with her brother Michael and featuring him vocally. Despite his presence, the track only went to No. 59 on the R&B survey. The album got to No. 26 on the R&B chart but only “bubbled under” at No. 116 Pop.
Her sophomore album My Special Love was released in September of 1981. It was again mostly produced by Brown with La Toya’s brother Randy overseeing two tracks. Those two songs included one song he wrote himself, “Giving You Up” and one he co-wrote with brothers Marlon, Tito and Jackie Jackson, “Special Love.” The Jacksons also helped write “Love Song” on the album. Keeping it the family, La Toya co-wrote “Camp Kuchi Kaiai” with her younger sister Janet. It would become known in rare groove circles in the United Kingdom. Ollie Brown contributed two songs he wrote himself: “Fill You Up” and “Summertime With You,” which Candi Staton had first performed in 1976. Another cover saw La Toya revisiting Billy Ocean’s “Stay the Night,” which he had first released the year before (she had previously covered Ocean’s “Are You Ready?” on her debut album). “Night” became the lead single of Jackson’s album in August, hitting No. 31 on the R&B survey. The follow-up, “I Don’t Want You To Go,” came out in October and did not chart. The album itself only hit No. 175 on the Pop chart.
After My Special Love, La Toya left Polydor and moved to Epic Records with Heart Don’t Lie in 1984. That album produced her biggest Hot 100 hit: “Bet’cha Gonna Need My Lovin’.” She would record six more albums through 1995 on a variety of labels while dealing with unfortunately well-publicized personal problems. She became estranged from her family for a time and entered into an abusive marriage with her manager Jack Gordon in 1989. The 1990s saw her forced into worse and worse professional deals by Gordon. She was able to escape his clutches and was granted a divorce in 1998. She would leave the public view, re-emerging in 2003. Jackson began to work on new material, which was released in 2011 to plaudits from her loyal fans. She has appeared on several reality shows in the 2000s, the most recent being her appearance as The Alien earlier this year on The Masked Singer.
Cherry Pop’s expanded edition of My Special Love adds six bonus tracks including the 7″ Version of “If You Feel The Funk” and “Are You Ready?” from her first album and “I Don’t Want You To Go” and “Stay The Night.” A 12″ version of “Stay The Night” is also included. The package includes a 20-page full color booklet featuring a 3-page essay by Adam Mattera based on a new interview with Brown, a La Toya discography from 1980-1988, and full lyrics to the album. Mattera produced the reissue and it has been remastered by Tom Parker.
If you would like to revisit La Toya Jackson’s sophomore album which has been hard-to-find on CD until now, we’ve got the ordering links below.
- Stay The Night
- Fill You Up
- Giving You Up
- Love Song
- I Don’t Want You To Go
- Camp Kucki Kaiai
- Summertime With You
- Special Love
- If You Feel The Funk (7″ Version)
- Are You Ready? (7″ Version)
- Stay The Night (7″ Version)
- I Don’t Want You To Go (7″ Version)
- Love Song (7″ Version)
- Stay The Night (Special Maxi Version)
Tracks 1-8 from My Special Love, Polydor LP PD-1-6328, 1981
Tracks 9-10 from Polydor single PD 2137, 1980
Track 11 from Polydor single PD 2177, 1981
Tracks 12-13 from Polydor single PD 2188, 1981
Track 14 from Polydor 12″ single 2141 422, 1981