Greetings to all soulful people and universal minds, Summer is finally here and I’ve been saving some quality classic summertime soul to provide them soular rays for your inspiration.
Album: Leon Ware – Musical massage
Usually when this season kicks off you’ll find me digging out the Isley Brothers albums (obvious choice) but there’s no escaping the soulfully seductive compositions from Leon Ware (less obvious choice) to accompany your dose of vitamin D and what better than his 1976 album ‘Musical massage’.
Ware’s first contribution to the music world was to co-write “Got to Have You Back” for the Isley’s back in 1967.He then went on to write songs with Ike & Tina Turner and none other than Diana Ross’s younger brother, songwriter Arthur ‘T boy’ Ross, who first teamed up in Detroit to write ‘I wanna be where you are’ for a young Michael Jackson.Success from that led to him being offered a contract to record his debut self titled solo album, which featured one of my favourite tracks, the psychedelic soul masterpiece ‘What’s your world’.
Ware still went to write music for legends such as Donny Hathaway, Quincy Jones, & pretty much the entire million selling Marvin Gaye album ‘I want you’, after this point he began to concentrate on his second solo project ‘Musical massage’.Some say that due to a combination of giving so much of his best work to other artists and bad promotion regrettably led to this gem of an album achieving far less success than the first, which is a crime as it is definitely the better of the two..None the less there was some great stand out tracks like ‘Phantom lover’, ‘Body heat’ and Ware’s own version of ‘I wanna be where you are’, the song he had written for Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye also recorded a version but in my opinion, Leon rightfully took the crown with his version, just for the horn section alone.The title track features the sweet, high range tones of Minnie Ripperton, another artist he had also previously written material for.Any fan of good soulful music will appreciate this album, particularly Marvin Gaye fans.He is heavily sampled in the hip hop realms, especially on the West coast, in 1996 he helped to produce Maxwell’s debut album Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite, which is widely considered to be a landmark album in the neo soul world.
Leon Ware went on to write songs for himself & others and release albums way into the 2000’s spanning a 50 year career in music.