Rick James - Street Songs


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Repress released 8th March 2019
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In light of soul singer-songwriter Rick James' wild and controversial behaviour during his career, it's easy to forget that he wrote some vastly successful and celebrated music. Nowadays he's best remembered for a famous and celebrated sketch from the TV show Chapelle's Show, or for his various arrests for drug charges, but during late-1970s and 1980s he was a powerhouse of his genre. The nadir of this success was undoubtedly James' fifth album.

He was already a gold-selling funk/soul artist with multiple Top 40 hits under his belt, but 1981's Street Songs was the album that broke him into the mainstream. The album took the smooth, swaggering sound that he had built his career upon, and fused it elements of rock and new wave, into a sound that James dubbed "funk punk." It even featured vocal backing from The Temptations, and a harmonica solo from Stevie Wonder. Street Sounds was an immediate commercial hit, reaching #3 on the Billboard Pop charts, reaching platinum status, selling over a million copies.

In addition to various Grammy nominations, Street Sounds also produced major chart hits in tracks like "Give It To Me Baby", "Ghetto Life", and what would become his most successful signature song; "Super Freak", which peaked at #16 on the US Pop Charts, and was famously sampled by MC Hammer for his mega-hit "U Can't Touch This." It caught the attention of publications as well, who heaped critical praise upon the album, even netting a rare A- grade from noted rock music curmudgeon Robert Christgau. 

A1. Give It To Me Baby
A2. Ghetto Life
A3. Make Love To Me
A4. Mr. Policeman
B1. Super Freak
B2. Fire And Desire
B3. Call Me Up
B4. Below The Funk (Pass The J)

Artist Rick James
Title Street Songs
Label 8th Records
Format LP
Release Date 8th March 2019
Cat Number ETH16010LP