Monday, May 12, 2008

Renée Geyer - "Moving Along" (1977)






This album is something of a lost gem that i'm happy to bring you.
After her domestic Australian success with the album "Ready to Deal" in 1975 (see previous post), Renée Geyer recorded a live album called "Really Really Love You", which I'll post here another time.

In 1976, she was signed to RCA and sent over to Los Angeles to record the album "Moving Along" with famed Motown producer/arranger/songwriter Frank Wilson, the writer/producer of such classics as "Love Child"/"Stoned Love" (Supremes); "Keep On Truckin' " / "Boogie Down" (Eddie Kendricks); "Chained" (Marvin Gaye) and "You've Made Me So Very Happy" (Brenda Holloway, Blood Sweat and Tears).

Wilson had just left Motown, and brought an extraordinary collection of musicians to the studio : James Jamerson, Nathan Watts (bass); Ray Parker Jr (guitar); Raymond Pounds (drums) and many others - see the full list below.

The result was this beautiful collection of sophisticated soulful ballads and slick, orchestrated funk. Geyer was at the height of her vocal powers, and Wilson's arrangements are fantastic and tight. He co-wrote a few tracks - "Stares and Whispers" is like a Diana Ross movie theme on ecstacy, and was clearly set up to be the first single. (Wilson also got Freda Payne to record it as the title track on her album later in the year). Renee co-wrote "Be There In the Morning" - an uptempo soul number more recently 'rediscovered' by influential DJ Gilles Peterson and included on a few retro comps - with the two band members she'd brought along from Australia. It was later covered by Norman Connors on "Invitation". There's the rawer, bluesy funk vocal of "Tender Hooks", the philly-meets-gospel-pop "Quicker than the Eye", and many others.

After the mix was complete, RCA shipped copies - without photos or cover imagery - to hundreds of radio stations all over the USA, trying to create a buzz around this unknown soul singer. A wide range of RnB stations jumped on it, playing many different tracks on high rotation, and particularly focusing on the re-recorded "Heading in the Right Direction", which had been a single from her previous album.

Both Geyer's biography and legend have it as follows : it became clear that everyone away from the studio and record company assumed she was a black performer. The RCA execs suggested to her that they release the album without a photo of her on the cover, wanting to capitalise on black radio's rapidly expanding attention. Geyer (whose biography is titled "A Difficult Woman") refused, insisting on marketing the album complete with a cover photograph of what she later referred to as "my big pink face". And as it came to pass, the airplay stopped as soon as the album was released, an event that Geyer would later blame on her headstrong decision in regard to her marketing. I suppose no-one can know for sure why the album suddenly disappeared from the airwaves, and how much the story has changed over time ...

Although the album was a big success back home, that was the end of Renée Geyer's international career as a lead singer. She worked for some years with Chaka Khan and others as a studio/live backing singer, then briefly formed a band called "Easy Pieces" with former members of the Average White Band (!). Her later Australian albums moved more into pop, blues, rock and even country, and she still performs occasional jazz shows, but to me this is her finest album.

Hope you enjoy it, link below!

"Moving Along" - Renée Geyer (1977), RCA

TRACKLIST
01 Heading In the Right Direction - 3.00(Mark Punch / Garry Paige)
02 Be There In the Morning - 4.27(Renée Geyer / Mal Logan / Barry Sullivan)
03 Quicker Than the Eye - 4.09(Harry Booker / Judy Wieder)
04 Tender Hooks - 4.39(Ruth Copeland / Eric Thorngren)
05 Stares And Whispers - 3.29(John Footman / Frank Wilson / Terri McFadden)
06 Just To Make Love To You - 4.44(Greg Poree / Gralin Jerald)
07 Touch - 4.52(Frank Wilson / Pam Sawyer)
08 Moving Along - 6.11(Renée Geyer / Mal Logan / Barry Sullivan / Judy Wieder)

Album Credits
Producer, Arrangements: Frank Wilson: A Spec-O-Lite ProductionEngineers: Kevin Beamish; Frank WilsonRecorded at Crystal Sound Recording, Los Angeles, CaliforniaArt Direction: Basil Pao. AGIPhotography: Norman Seef

Musician Credits

Vocals, Backing Vocals : Renée Geyer
Guitars : Ray Parker, Jr., Greg Poree, Stephen Beckmeier
Bass : James Jamerson; Nathan Watts; Barry 'Big Goose' Sullivan
Keyboards : Harry Booker; Jerry Peters; Mal Logan
Piano : Reginald Burke
Drums : Raymond Pounds
Percussion : Jack Ashford; Frederick Lewis
Background Vocals : Venetta Fields; Sherlie Matthews; Pat Henerson; Tiemeyer McCain; Otis Stokes; Frank Wilson.

DOWNLOAD WAV - MP3

bonus : Alt version of 'Be There in the Morning" DOWNLOAD

33 comments:

Simon666 said...

please leave a comment! ;)

tswift98 said...

Never heard of this artist but anything with Frank wilson as the producer gotta be good!!

invisiblenigma said...

You're really doing your thing with this one Simon. Great Post. Thanks So Much

ish said...

I liked the other one you posted. GOnna download this now! Thanks.

JAZZYPIER said...

Very thanks Simon666 for this share!

thelistening said...

Hey man wasn't sure where to put this but i was wondering if you fancied some reciprocal linkage?

I run a podcast that definitely fits in with your type of music and i'm more than happy to host a link to yours if you'll do the same.

the link is http://thelistening.podomatic.com/

if you're interested email me here thelistening@podOmatic.com and i'll get a link to yours added.

cheers mate

O

Babakazoo said...

Love Renee! 'Stares & Whispers' & 'Heading In The Right Direction' are 2 of my all time favorites.

The Green Radio Network said...

Great stuff. Thank you.

hugo said...

I don't know anybody for that one, i'm happy to discover something new !
Thanks for your great work

Simon666 said...

Thanks guys, glad you're enjoying it , and it's good to get feedback :)

Simon666 said...

If you like this, I've upped an alternate version of "Be There in the Morning", taken from one of her "Greatest Hits" albums.

This one is a little rootsier and Rhodes-ier, sounds more like the previous Geyer album "Ready To Deal".

Personally, I like the slick, Frank Wilson-produced album version better, but curious what you guys think.

Anyway it's just 3MB , tell me what you think :

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=M4F6FN10

wiljello said...

always on the hunt for the good one!!!!!
thanks for share simon666.

catacaldos said...

Don`t know this,thanks for discovering new stuff.

chrisd said...

Simon! RG is GOOD! More! More!

Thanks a million,
Chris

soulbrotha said...

More Renee? Dang! You killin it! Many thanks.

Mr. Wone said...

What in the world is goin' on with this album? Renee Geyer is so dope and shook (not 'took') me surprise.

Seeing the legendary bassist James Jamerson from Motown's original Funk Brothers along with Ray Parker, Jr. (later to become Mr. who ya gon' call? Ghostbusters) to add weight to the vocals?

Purely murderous in a resuscitative type of way.

I thank you for this post and all that you have delivered for us to appreciate, embrace, and purchase (if we have any of that stimulus check left which would buy us only two albums today)

Appreciation ner.

Simon666 said...

Hi folks,
have added "Really Really Love You", 1976 live Renee Geyer album, see here :
http://neverenoughrhodes.blogspot.com/2008/05/really-really-love-you-renee-geyer-band.html

Gianni said...

wonderful again! thanks simon!!!

Simon666 said...

Thanks Gianni for all the comments :)

Renee Geyer "Rsrities" EP added, check it out :

http://neverenoughrhodes.blogspot.com/2008/05/rarities-ep-renee-geyer.html

hooch said...

thank You!

alex said...

THANKS FOR TURNING ME ONTO THIS GAL SIMON!
LOVE HER VOICE MAN!

Micko said...

I'm always happy to find people who are just discovering Renee. She's now an absolute Icon in Australia, thought that wasn't necesarily the case back in the 70's when she did most of these albums.
Sure there were a few hit singles that made the Top 20, & she was certainly critically well respected. But she just wasn't nearly as popular as her great vocal talent should have demanded. I guess this was partly due to the fact that her chosen musical field, soul/R&B/African American based music was not that big a genre before the advent of disco music. The other problem, to her credit, was that she refused to tow the line re record company/managers expectations of how she should appear, what she should sing etc.
Of course R&B is huge now in Oz, & she is now a member of the Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA)'s Hall Of Fame, regularly packing out venues across the country.
Following the Easy Pieces debacle which was released just as the erecord company A & M was changing US distributors & therfore died, Renee took a decade off from recording. During this time she did much session work for her great friend Bonnie Raitt, Joe Cocker, Buddy Guy, Toni Childs, Sting & Neil Diamond among others.

However in 1995 she returned to Australia, permanently & resumed her recording career & has released a series of hugely acclaimed albums since then including her best seller ever, Tenderland on which she pays tribute to the soul classics she grew up on. Not slavish cover versions of Midnight Train To Georgia, Love Don't Live Here Anymore, Sexual Healing, even Prince's Thieves In The Temple etc, but totally individual interpretations as only Renee can do.

By the way Simon, you were saying you don't have the album by Easy Pieces, the band that Renee formed with 2 former Average White Band members. I can upload it if there is enough interest.

And a wee correction. Renee actually had 3 album releases in the US. Not just Moving Along, which is great but not my fave Renee. And of course Easy Pieces was issued in the US but not in Oz believe it or not. However she also released a self-titled set on Portrait in the US (re-named So Lucky for Australia) on which she is backed by Bonnie Raiit's Bump Band (Johnny Lee Schell, Ricky Fataar, In McLaglan etc). This is a much rootsier album, still very funky but with a tougher guitar sound, the title track even sounding a bit Stonesy. Elsewhere there's the calypso sounds of her biggest single, the Top 5 Eddie Grant written Say I Love You (#1 in NZ), a great funky version of Lee Michael's Do You Know What I Mean which was also an Oz hit, plus tracks that range form reggae to soul & even a pretty rocky I can Feel The Fire, one of her rare excursion into straight rock but a goodun & proves she can sing anything. However to me Renee was never better than she was on the slow bluesy soul of You Don't Know Nothing About Love. Man she could wail dem blues. Again it's an album I can upload if of interest

Thanks for spreading the word, Simon. She was & still is the best

Cheers

Micko

Simon666 said...

Thanks for your interest, info and comments Micko. Would LOVE to hear 'Easy Pieces" if you can upload :)

k02 said...

appreciate the genorosity.

wiljello said...

thanks for discovery of this artist,also for the lp.

Simon666 said...

Hi guys, just posted the album ”Renée Geyer “It’s a Man’s Man’s World” (1974)

Simon666 said...

Have now posted ’Easy Pieces’ featuring Renée Geyer, thanks to Micko

Simon666 said...

Hi Renee fans,
Better cover scans here (zshare, 800k) courtesy of the Midoztouch community, will add some to the post now as well.
simon

Justice said...

thnk u!

onejazzyman said...

Thank you for this album.

CMAN said...

bugar looks like links are gone el maestro! not to worry I will find these albs!
appreciated Simon!
CMAN

Simon666 said...

Hey CMAN, new link at the base of the post, I'll fix the others too ...

Anonymous said...

thank u very much