HEATWAVE: Always And Forever; Love Songs and Smooth Grooves ( bbr)

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Heatwave were never soul major leaguers but their ‘Boogie Nights’ is rightly classed as a dance classic – still guaranteed to fill floors everywhere. To those who only know Heatwave via the fierce, fuelled ‘Boogie Nights’ this lovely, new bbr 17 tracker might come as a surprise. As the title succinctly puts it, the album collects together the best of the band’s more romantic moments… and, boy there are plenty of gems here.

‘Always And Forever’ kicks things off and it’s still a thing of beauty and yes, dear old Luther offered a great cover but the original is every bit as good as the maestro’s take. Heatwave’s Johnnie Wilder was a great soul singer and it’s a real tribute to him that Vandross didn’t stray too far from his reading. Wilder’s on top from too on his own song ‘Mind Blowing Decisions’ (once used in a flavoured choc drink ad, I remember) and on it the rest of the band show they understand the subtleties of soul harmonies. Those harmonies are superb too on ‘Find It In Your Heart’.

Amongst the many other low key highlights are ‘Sho’ Nuff Must be Love’, the Philly-flavoured ‘All You Do Is Dial’ and ‘Look After Love’…. all Rod Temperton songs , by the way. Now I wonder what ever happened to him? He was a promising young songwriter!

The album also offers two tunes covered by George Benson, ‘Turn Out The Lamplight’ and ‘Star Of The Story’… two more Temperton gems. However, as this collection proves Heatwave were much more than Wilder and Temperton and, of course, ‘Boogie Nights’!

(BB) 4/5