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Leon Ware - Musical Massage

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Musical Massage

Leon Ware

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Leon Ware's classic Motown offering from 1976 came about as the result of another classic recording done by Marvin Gaye. Ware had written the single "I Want You" for a demo recording to score T-Boy Ross a recording contract with Motown. Berry Gordy heard it and told Ware he had to have the song for Marvin Gaye's next single. He took it to Gaye, who also loved it. Later, as Ware finished the tracks and orchestrations for his own album, he was playing it back for friends at Gaye's home when Marvin came out of a bedroom to inquire about what it was. He asked for -- and received -- all the tracks from Ware for the legendary I Want You album. This left Ware no choice but to compose an entirely new set of songs for his own record; the result is Musical Massage. (It should be noted that, according to Ware, Gordy, Gaye, and others felt he should also give this album away as a follow-up to I Want You, but Ware refused.) Musical Massage is the perfect mix of soul, light funk, jazz, and what was about to become the rhythmic foundation for disco. Picture the Motown song orchestrations with arrangements by Barry White for the Salsoul Orchestra and you get a bit of the picture. The disc opens with two smooth soul wonders in "Learning How to Love You" and "Instant Love." Strings dominate the melodic arrangement and Ware croons directly to them as Ray Parker, Jr. fills the lines with a silky but chunky guitar. Ware's mellifluous tenor is deep in the swell of strings and guitars as the rest of the band provides a shimmering backbeat for his soul crooning. On a re-recording of the track "Body Heat" -- which Ware had recorded as a duet with Minnie Riperton for Quincy Jones' album of the same name a year earlier -- Parker and bassist Chuck Rainey set a groove for Bongo Brown, Gary Coleman, and Bobbye Hall's percussion orgy. Ware's vocals, augmented by a three-piece female choir, cover the tune with dripping, seductive, sexual energy. Bobby Womack guests on the title track and "Holiday," while Gaye also lends a hand on the latter. Both tracks are spurious soul-funk workouts with fat, smooth grooves underlying Ware's gorgeous voice that melts the heart strings like butter, sounding like the whispering of satin sheets. Produced by Ware with Hal Davis and engineer Cal Harris, the disc has the same sweet, swaying feel as Gaye's I Want You but is a bit tougher, a little funkier in the breaks. The string arrangements by Dave Blumbery and Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson are among the best the Motown studios issued to date. Ultimately, Musical Massage is a little-known classic from the supposedly twilight years of Motown. This record reveals Ware as a talented but undercelebrated visionary; he envisioned the evolution of soul and went about to bring it to fruition. Musical Massage is a watermark not only for Ware, but for Motown as well.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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Musical Massage

Leon Ware

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1
Learning How To Love You (Album Version)
00:03:25

John Barnes, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Jerry Peters, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Chuck Rainey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Gary Coleman, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Cal Harris, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - JAMES GADSON, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - David T. Walker, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - SONNY BURKE, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Bobbye Hall, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Ray Parker Jr., Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Leon Ware, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Art Stewart, Recording Engineer, Remix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - David Blumberg, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Eddie Bongo Brown, Conga, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1976 UMG Recordings, Inc.

2
Instant Love (Album Version)
00:03:27

John Barnes, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Jerry Peters, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Chuck Rainey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Gary Coleman, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Cal Harris, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - JAMES GADSON, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - MINNIE RIPERTON, MainArtist - David T. Walker, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - SONNY BURKE, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Bobbye Hall, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Ray Parker Jr., Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Leon Ware, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Hal Davis, Producer - Jacqueline Dalya Hilliard, ComposerLyricist - Art Stewart, Recording Engineer, Remix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - David Blumberg, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Eddie Bongo Brown, Conga, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1976 UMG Recordings, Inc.

3
Body Heat (Album Version)
00:04:43

John Barnes, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Jerry Peters, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Chuck Rainey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Gary Coleman, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Cal Harris, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - JAMES GADSON, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Quincy Jones, ComposerLyricist - David T. Walker, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - SONNY BURKE, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Bobbye Hall, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Ray Parker Jr., Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Leon Ware, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Hal Davis, Producer - Bruce Carleton Fisher, ComposerLyricist - Stan Richardson, ComposerLyricist - Art Stewart, Recording Engineer, Remix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - David Blumberg, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Eddie Bongo Brown, Conga, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1976 UMG Recordings, Inc.

4
Share Your Love (Album Version)
00:03:23

John Barnes, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Jerry Peters, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Merry Clayton, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Chuck Rainey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Gary Coleman, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Cal Harris, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - JAMES GADSON, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - David T. Walker, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - SONNY BURKE, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Bobbye Hall, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Ray Parker Jr., Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Leon Ware, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Jessie Smith, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Hal Davis, Producer - Art Stewart, Recording Engineer, Remix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - David Blumberg, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Eddie Bongo Brown, Conga, AssociatedPerformer - Felicia Griner, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1976 UMG Recordings, Inc.

5
Holiday (Album Version)
00:03:25

John Barnes, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Jerry Peters, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Chuck Rainey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Gary Coleman, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Cal Harris, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - JAMES GADSON, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - David T. Walker, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - SONNY BURKE, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Bobbye Hall, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Ray Parker Jr., Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Leon Ware, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Art Stewart, Recording Engineer, Remix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - David Blumberg, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Eddie Bongo Brown, Conga, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1976 UMG Recordings, Inc.

6
Phantom Lover (Album Version)
00:03:43

John Barnes, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Jerry Peters, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Chuck Rainey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Gary Coleman, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Cal Harris, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - JAMES GADSON, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - David T. Walker, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - SONNY BURKE, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Bobbye Hall, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Ray Parker Jr., Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Leon Ware, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Art Stewart, Recording Engineer, Remix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - jackie hillard, ComposerLyricist - David Blumberg, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Eddie Bongo Brown, Conga, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1976 UMG Recordings, Inc.

7
Journey Into You (Album Version)
00:04:05

John Barnes, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Jerry Peters, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Chuck Rainey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Gary Coleman, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Cal Harris, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - JAMES GADSON, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - David T. Walker, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - SONNY BURKE, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Bobbye Hall, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Ray Parker Jr., Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Leon Ware, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Terri McFadden, ComposerLyricist - Art Stewart, Recording Engineer, Remix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Eddie Bongo Brown, Conga, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1976 UMG Recordings, Inc.

8
Musical Massage (Album Version)
00:03:46

John Barnes, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Jerry Peters, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Chuck Rainey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Gary Coleman, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Cal Harris, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - JAMES GADSON, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - David T. Walker, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - SONNY BURKE, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Bobbye Hall, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Ray Parker Jr., Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Leon Ware, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Art Stewart, Recording Engineer, Remix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - David Blumberg, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Eddie Bongo Brown, Conga, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1976 UMG Recordings, Inc.

9
French Waltz (Album Version)
00:01:51

John Barnes, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Jerry Peters, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Chuck Rainey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Gary Coleman, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Cal Harris, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - JAMES GADSON, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - David T. Walker, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - SONNY BURKE, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Bobbye Hall, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Ray Parker Jr., Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Leon Ware, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Art Stewart, Recording Engineer, Remix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - David Blumberg, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Eddie Bongo Brown, Conga, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1976 UMG Recordings, Inc.

10
Turn Out The Light (Album Version)
00:03:52

John Barnes, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Jerry Peters, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Richard Rudolph, ComposerLyricist - Chuck Rainey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Gary Coleman, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Cal Harris, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - JAMES GADSON, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - MINNIE RIPERTON, ComposerLyricist - David T. Walker, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - SONNY BURKE, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Bobbye Hall, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Ray Parker Jr., Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Leon Ware, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Art Stewart, Recording Engineer, Remix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Eddie Bongo Brown, Conga, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1976 UMG Recordings, Inc.

11
I Wanna Be Where You Are (Album Version)
00:03:34

John Barnes, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Jerry Peters, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - T-Boy Ross, Producer, Associate Producer - Chuck Rainey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Cal Harris, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - JAMES GADSON, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - David T. Walker, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - SONNY BURKE, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Ray Parker Jr., Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Leon Ware, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - ARTHUR ROSS, ComposerLyricist - Art Stewart, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Eddie Bongo Brown, Conga, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2003 Universal Motown Records, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

12
Comfort (AKA Come Live With Me, Angel) (Album Version)
00:06:14

MINNIE RIPERTON, MainArtist - Leon Ware, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Hal Davis, Producer, Associate Producer - Jacqueline Dalya Hilliard, ComposerLyricist - Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2003 Universal Motown Records, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

13
Long Time No See (Album Version)
00:03:45

John Barnes, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Jerry Peters, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - T-Boy Ross, Producer, Associate Producer - Pam Sawyer, ComposerLyricist - Chuck Rainey, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Cal Harris, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - JAMES GADSON, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - David T. Walker, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - SONNY BURKE, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Ray Parker Jr., Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Leon Ware, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Art Stewart, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Eddie Bongo Brown, Conga, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2003 Universal Motown Records, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

14
Don't You Wanna Come (Demo)
00:03:42

T-Boy Ross, Producer, Associate Producer - Leon Ware, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - ARTHUR ROSS, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2003 Universal Motown Records, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

15
You Are The Way You Are (Demo)
00:03:21

T-Boy Ross, Producer, Associate Producer - Leon Ware, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - ARTHUR ROSS, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2003 Universal Motown Records, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

Albumbeschreibung

Leon Ware's classic Motown offering from 1976 came about as the result of another classic recording done by Marvin Gaye. Ware had written the single "I Want You" for a demo recording to score T-Boy Ross a recording contract with Motown. Berry Gordy heard it and told Ware he had to have the song for Marvin Gaye's next single. He took it to Gaye, who also loved it. Later, as Ware finished the tracks and orchestrations for his own album, he was playing it back for friends at Gaye's home when Marvin came out of a bedroom to inquire about what it was. He asked for -- and received -- all the tracks from Ware for the legendary I Want You album. This left Ware no choice but to compose an entirely new set of songs for his own record; the result is Musical Massage. (It should be noted that, according to Ware, Gordy, Gaye, and others felt he should also give this album away as a follow-up to I Want You, but Ware refused.) Musical Massage is the perfect mix of soul, light funk, jazz, and what was about to become the rhythmic foundation for disco. Picture the Motown song orchestrations with arrangements by Barry White for the Salsoul Orchestra and you get a bit of the picture. The disc opens with two smooth soul wonders in "Learning How to Love You" and "Instant Love." Strings dominate the melodic arrangement and Ware croons directly to them as Ray Parker, Jr. fills the lines with a silky but chunky guitar. Ware's mellifluous tenor is deep in the swell of strings and guitars as the rest of the band provides a shimmering backbeat for his soul crooning. On a re-recording of the track "Body Heat" -- which Ware had recorded as a duet with Minnie Riperton for Quincy Jones' album of the same name a year earlier -- Parker and bassist Chuck Rainey set a groove for Bongo Brown, Gary Coleman, and Bobbye Hall's percussion orgy. Ware's vocals, augmented by a three-piece female choir, cover the tune with dripping, seductive, sexual energy. Bobby Womack guests on the title track and "Holiday," while Gaye also lends a hand on the latter. Both tracks are spurious soul-funk workouts with fat, smooth grooves underlying Ware's gorgeous voice that melts the heart strings like butter, sounding like the whispering of satin sheets. Produced by Ware with Hal Davis and engineer Cal Harris, the disc has the same sweet, swaying feel as Gaye's I Want You but is a bit tougher, a little funkier in the breaks. The string arrangements by Dave Blumbery and Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson are among the best the Motown studios issued to date. Ultimately, Musical Massage is a little-known classic from the supposedly twilight years of Motown. This record reveals Ware as a talented but undercelebrated visionary; he envisioned the evolution of soul and went about to bring it to fruition. Musical Massage is a watermark not only for Ware, but for Motown as well.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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