Alright, I think if we're going to have a blog dedicated to Slave, then it's only best that I upload the music. I'm going to comprehensively go through each album. Download links are in the pictures of the album covers.The group was formed in 1975 by Steve Washington and Mark "Drac" Hicks, from two minor groups, called Black Satin Soul and the Young Mystics. The name, "Slave" was used for the group because the word was on a member's t-shirt. The idea behind it, was to add better connotations to the word, than the pre-existing ones. (They coined the concept that we're all "Slaves to life", which is a better connotation)
The classic 1977 debut album by Slave, containing the #1 hit, "Slide". Original members at this point being Steve Washington, Mark "Drac" Hicks, Mark Adams, Danny Webster, Floyd Miller, Carter Bradley, Orion Wilhoite, Tim Dozier and Tom Lockett. Tighter grooves are what makes this album the bomb that it is, and rapidly, but unexpectedly became a commercial success. Other great tracks on this album are "The Happiest Days" and "Separated", though it seems most of the other tracks on this album get very overlooked amidst the love of "Slide". An early and wonderful start for Slave, nonetheless.
On the other hand, we have this album, which wasn't a commercial success, within the same year. The Hardness Of The World is, in my opinion, certainly one of their weaker albums, but understandably so, due to the fact that this album was rushed. To be honest, I'm glad this album was commercially unsuccessful; the possibilities were, that if they continued to chart constantly, the fame could have given them ideas above their station to produce the same kind of material. What with Slave and its members only being young, I think this was a potential risk, but with Slave experiencing both commercial successes and flops within the same year, I think the experience within has really built upon Slave, not just as musicians producing their sounds, but to avoid the temptation of conforming just for a famous hits.
And not to shun this album; I think "Life Can Be Happy" is certainly a song of theirs not to be missed, along with "Volcano Rupture", which features some serious bass and guitar work! And the cover art is also beautiful; another artistic aspect in which Slave are second to none at. This album also saw the introduction of Raye Turner
And so they had it. They had the experiences for which many artists and bands have yearned for. The real test for them was to build upon it. And they did. This 1978 album, The Concept, is a brilliant album, taking a very dramatic, almost pantomime like edge to it. "We've Got Your Party" was a first listen love for me, and the guitar riffs and dramatic edge to "Coming Soon" is magnificent! Guess who sneaks into the background in this album? Yep, it's Steve Arrington, who strangely only does vocals in Coming Soon.
Next up in 1979 is Just A Touch Of Love. This album is important because the vocals within Slave become a lot more upfront. Steve Arrington becomes the lead vocalist at this point, and we now see the further introduction of Curt Jones and Starlena Young as further vocalists. The goalposts for Slave had definitely changed at this point. Slave become slightly more of a serious band at this point, perhaps deviating from the kind of attitude that was put about by P-Funk, and many of the other funk groups starting at the same time. Also, the focus of this now is all about the vocals. I think for this album, the instruments are second nature. This album delivers the all time classic, "Just A Touch Of Love", as well as some killer songs like "Shine" and "Funky Lady (Foxy Lady)".
This album adds the balance between vocal and instrument focus. This particular 1980 album, Stone Jam, happened to be the very first Slave album I obtained. For me, and MANY others, the track that shines in this album, as well as being an all time classic, is "Watching You"; a beautiful blend between funky precision and soulful vocals! Other good tracks are "Sizzlin' Hot", and "Stone Jam". Charles Carter makes his first appearance in this album, too.
It's the 1981 album, Showtime, and the goalposts begin to change once again. Steve Washington, Curt Jones, Starlena Young and Tom Lockett depart to create the group Aurra. Orion Wilhoite, Tim Dozier, Mark Drac Hicks and Raye Turner also depart. (Carter Bradley disappears as well, although I think he went before, back in 1979)
Replacing him, is Kevin Johnson and Roger Parker
Overall, this album is probably Slave's biggest success story, commercial wise. But also in the sense that not a single track on this album gets overlooked. The bassline in this album is super funky, bringing Mark Adams up front into the spotlight more, alongside the shared vocal powers of Steve Arrington, and Danny Webster, who is the lead vocalist in the song, "Steal Your Heart". The Slave sound really started here, although many dismiss it as this album being the last of it. Every track on this is a killer, but special mentions go to "For The Love Of U", "Party Lites" and "Smokin"!
Now we have the 1982 album, Visions Of The Lite. Sadly, many didn't give this album a chance, and the relationship between them and Slave ended at this point, making this album a commercial flop. All of this, being for one reason; Steve Arrington departed Slave to create his Hall Of Fame, taking Carter and Parker with him.
Slave continued, despite this great loss, however, and rightly so; Danny Webster was a different yet competent takeover for the vocals. Some seriously good songs on this joint, such as "Sweet Thang", "Visions", "Do You Like It...(Girl)" and "Intro (Come To Blow Ya Mind)".
This album also saw the introduction of Marvin Wheatley and Ronny Cochran.
I really love this album. I just have to say it. This is the 1983 album, Bad Enuff, and this is one of my favourite Slave albums. This album runs very smoothly, and has fantastic tracks on it, as well as getting a slight peak within the charts, as well. The lineup has many new introductions, including Eugene Jackson, Wayne Foote, Aubrey Rivers and Kenny Anderson. "Steppin' Out" is a classic track on this album, and well appreciated amongst me and other fans. Other fantastic tracks on this album are "Bad Girl", wrote by Eugene Jackson (who is the lead vocalist on the track, as well), "Show Down", and "Shake It Up".
I think this album is testimony to mass stupidity of the charts. This is the 1984 album, New Plateau, and was the first album of Slave's not to chart, as well as being the last album on Cotillion. This album also sees the introduction of the later very prominent Slave member, Keith Nash. Charles Carter and Curt Jones also reappear in this album to help out.
I really like this album. The basslines in this album are extremely funky, and the usage of synthesizers for this album are very cool. The fact that this album didn't chart says something about conventional opinion. Tracks I love on this album are "Ooohh", "The World Is Out", "Share Your L.O.V.E.", "Forever Mine", "K.O.G." and "Jungle Dance (The Dance Bass)". Forever Mine is probably my favourite track on this album, being one of Slave's "deeper" songs, hitting very different chords. That might be an aspect of the "New Plateau" that Slave achieved in this album.
This is the first Ichiban release by Slave, as Slave moved to Ichiban in 1985, and then produced this album, Unchained At Last. The members at this point were Mark Adams, Floyd Miller, Danny Webster, Keith Nash, Aubrey Rivers and Kenny Anderson.
I think, as they got total control of the handling of their releases, they also found the right elements to combine with the Slave sound. This album is an absolutely fantastic album, containing many funky breaks, soulful vocals, powerful guitar riffs and a more spacey/cosmic overtone. "Jazzy Lady" was released as single, and was quite popular. Other great tracks on this album are "Don't U Be Afraid", "All We Need Is Time", "Thrill Me" and "Don't Waste My Tyme".
Well, this is it. This is my all time favourite album of Slave's. This is the 1987 release, Make Believe. Also, this is the Slave album that most people strangely seem to forget about. For some reason, people can't recall this album, and it was only February of last year that I had heard this album. This album was the highest charting Ichiban release they did. The lineup now was right down to the core: Mark Adams, Floyd Miller, Danny Webster, Keith Nash, with Charles Carter chipping in with the keyboards.
This album took a very different route, the route of hardcore funk, with very powerful guitars and riffs, rap-styled vocals from Floyd Miller, along with the original Slave sound, and cosmic/spacey themed synthesizers. This album works perfectly. The favourite track on this album for most people is "Juicy-O", which was released as a single. "Juicy-O" is a great synth funk joint (Take note, reviewers: Synth funk; NOT New-Jack Swing :D) with some brilliant vocal leads. All of the tracks on this album are fantastic, but special mentions go to "I Like Your Style", "You Take My Breath Away" and "Chillin'". Danny Webster appears not to be the lead vocalist from this album and from here on, and only does the lead vocals in the song "Holiday" on this album. I think the vocals (non-rap) are taken over by Keith Nash for the most part, and Floyd Miller doing the rap ones. Danny Webster does some ultra powerful guitar work, and Mark Adams doing the bass as always! Spectacular album.
This is their 1988 release, Slave 88. This album sees the return of Mark Drac Hicks, the original lead guitarist! Roger Parker also comes back to contribute, as does Sam Carter; the brother of Charles Carter. Also helping out in this album, is Buzz Amato. This album is very electro in style, and more concentrates on drum samples and loops, as well as being slightly more soul oriented. This album was the first album on Ichiban not to chart at all, which ends up to be the case for all the rest of Slave's releases. By this time, they were well eclipsed by the media, but the Sun hadn't burnt out! Some great tracks on this are "Because Of You" and "Bottoms Up".
A new decade starts, and a new era for Slave. This 1990 release, Rebirth, despite the name, is actually the phasing out of Slave. At the same time, this album is great! The new "Rebirth", is Mark Drac Hicks, Mark Adams and Keith Nash, and Danny Webster chipping in, doing guitars and the lead vocals in the song "Victim Of Circumstance". Buzz Amato also chips in on the keyboards. This album is full of powerful guitars, drum beats and loops, and futuristic synthesizers. At this point, Slave were bound to stop, but this is one of my favourite albums by them, and shows that they can amalgamate their sound with contemporary sounds and styles excellently! Tracks I like on this are "The Way You Dance", "I Love You", "Victim Of Circumstance", "How Is This Love" and "Everybody's Talking".
This is the 1992 release, The Funk Strikes Back. The lineup at the moment is Mark Adams, Keith Nash and Mark Drac Hicks. The basslines on this are particularly powerful, but also, like Rebirth, reflected a lot more contemporary styles of music, and some rap like vocals. Slave still had a well good grasp of the funk, and songs "I Won't Stop", "Just A Little Bit-A Love" and "So, So Good" are particular favourites of mine!
The last and final release by Slave. This contains all rerecordings of old songs, as well as one new song, "Funky Like A Lunatic". The lineup in this are all entirely of people I've never heard of before, apart from Mark Adams, Floyd Miller, Mark Drac Hicks and Tom Lockett. To be honest, I'm not keen on some of the rerecordings, although the one of Watching You is okay, the Barbera Jean Blvd one is quite atmospheric and the new track is not so bad. Might as well get this one for collection's sake.
And that's the end of the current Slave saga. Maybe there's another? Who knows, but we'll see. Hope you enjoy what I've posted.