Fans of dear LUTHER VANDROSS in particular and lovers of quality soul in general will be delighted to know that two of the great man’s long deleted, early albums will soon be reissued!

Primary Wave Music andLegacy Recordings, the catalogue division of Sony Music Entertainment, have announced that  they are re-releasing the soul icon’s first two albums – ‘Luther’ and ‘This Close To You’… the former on the 19th April, the latter 7th June. Originally released on Cotillion Records, these seminal records are being made available commercially for the first time in over forty years.

First a little context. Fans know  that before his solo  breakthrough, Luther paid his dues singing ad jingles, doing BVs and sessions for all kinds of artists… including a certain David Bowie. Vandross was introduced to Bowie via the Thin White Duke’s guitarist Carlos Alomar. Luther at that time (1974) was in a group, Listen My Brother, which featured Alomar’s wife, Robin Clark and the guitar man felt that Luther was the right man to add the believable credentials to Bowie’s then current dalliance with US soul

Vandross was only 24 at the time and he would sometimes open for Bowie on the road. One of the songs in his  set was ‘Funky Music (Is a Part of Me)’ which intrigued Bowie who asked could he use it as the basis for a song that he was working on. That “new” song became Bowie’s ‘Fascination’, which is actually  Vandross’ first songwriting credit on record.

Luther was always been keen to acknowledge what Bowie did for him. In interview he once opined : “David Bowie started [my career]. Flat out. Absolutely. I had never been out of New York city before Bowie took me on the road with him. I was still living with my mother before Bowie took me out on the road with him.” That Bowie connection drew attention to the aspirational  New Yorker and he eventually signed a contract with Cotillion Records. However, for reasons never fully explained, he decided to work in a group context. He quickly recruited singers he’d earlier worked with in a  group called Shades of Jade. He dubbed  the new band “Luther” (pictured). The line-up was Vandross, Anthony Hinton, Diane Sumler, Theresa V. Reed, and Christine Wiltshire.

Luther (the group) released a number of singles – ‘It’s Good for the Soul’, ‘Funky Music (Is a Part of Me)’, and ‘The Second Time Around’  and though they were relatively successful, the parent LPs, the  self-titled ‘Luther’ (1976) and ‘’This Close to You (1977), didn’t sell enough to make the charts. So, Vandross bought back the rights to these albums after the record label dropped the group, preventing their later re-release. And they’ve stayed in the vault all this while!

The upcoming reissues will deliver all kinds of Vandross treasures like the gorgeous ‘Follow My Love’ – as good as anything Luther cut in his pomp. Ballad-wise ‘The Second Time Around’ is a classic while you can also enjoy ‘Everybody Rejoice (A Brand New Day)’  – a song Luther wrote for the  award-winning musical ‘The Wiz’.

Both of these exciting rescues come with bonus tracks and are available for pre-order now in Vinyl, CD, and Digital. There’s also plenty of associated merchandise. learn more @