EDNA WRIGHT: Oops! Here I Go Again (Label: Reel Music)

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EDNA WRIGHT: Oops! Here I Go Again

After vocal trio the Honey Cone folded – they were Hot Wax’s answer to Motown’s The Supremes and scored a massive US hit with ‘Want Ads’ in ’71 – lead singer Edna Wright struck a deal with RCA and reunited with the group’s producer and songwriter, Greg Perry. That was in 1976. It was a time when disco music was gaining impetus and beginning to dominate black music – the downside was that disco threatened real soul music with a deadly tidal wave of slurping hi-hats, energetic dance rhythms and increasingly crass commercialism. If Edna Wright and Greg Perry (who later became Wright’s husband) had played it safe, they would have made a disco album – instead they focused on making a genuine soul album and it’s probably because of that that Wright’s solitary solo foray was a commercial flop that stopped her career dead in its tracks. Long championed by the Rare Groove scene, ‘Oops! Here I Go Again’ finally enters the digital age via those respected keepers of the authentic soul flame, Reel Music. In a short period of time, Reel has established itself as a top-notch reissue company – all the CDs are remastered from the original master tapes and contain extensive liner notes by top soul music writers. The packaging and presentation too is first class. What’s also edifying is that many of the artists are interviewed for the liner notes of Reel CDs, which gives a real (excuse the pun!) insight into the making of the albums. Wright had high hopes for her long playing debut – understandably so as it’s a superb little album, packed with strong uptempo cuts and sweet romantic ballads. The title cut with its breezy groove, jazzy chords and infectious chorus is a lovely dancer without the slightest hint of disco. Its soulful sophistication sets a benchmark for the rest of the set, which ranges from funky grooves like ‘You Can’t See The Forest (For The Trees)’ to the sensual slow jams such as ‘Spend The Nights With Me’ and ‘Nothing Comes To A Sleeper (But A Dream).’ Also listen out for the effervescent groover, ‘If The Price Is Right,’ and the anthemic ‘Tomorrow May Never Come’ (which has a touch of the Honey Cone about it). These days, Wright fronts a new incarnation of Honey Cone on the oldies circuit but Bill Dahl’s liner notes reveal she and husband Perry (whose excellent RCA album ‘Smokin” is also reissued on Reel Music) are recording a CD of new material. Until that surfaces this forgotten gem will do nicely.
(CW) 4/5