(4 / 5)
This is a first-of-its-kind three-CD collection of Carrie’s six albums. As “The First Lady Of Solar (Sound Of Los Angeles Records)”, California-born Carrie Lucas forged a recording career starting in 1977 on her husband’s record label.
Her success helped establish the Los Angeles-based company formed by her husband, pioneering music industry executive Dick Griffey, into a world-renowned label that launched internationally successful artists such as Shalamar, The Whispers, Klymaxx, Midnight Star, Lakeside, The Deele and Dynasty.
With a stellar cadre of top musicians, a growing stable of songwriters and emergent producers, the distinctive sound that became associated with the company was in full effect on the six albums that Carrie recorded between 1977 and 1984.
Carrie’s chart success began when husband Griffey and Don Cornelius, the renowned creator and host of the legendary US television series, “Soul Train”, started Soul Train Records in 1977.
Her debut single, “I Gotta Keep Dancin’’ became a US R&B, pop and dance hit and paved the way for a further six charted singles including “Dance With You”, also a UK Top 40 entry; 1982’s “Show Me Where You’re Coming From”, and her 1984 revival of the Barbara Lewis classic, “Hello Stranger”, featuring label- mates The Whispers. Carrie toured alongside The Whispers and other Solar artists in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.
Producers including Leon Sylvers III, members of The Whispers and Lakeside, Klymaxx’ Fenderella and Dick Griffey himself contributed to the 47 tracks featured here (including the almost-eight minute long 12” version of 1980’s “Keep Smiling”).
Her dance cuts “Career Girl”, “Fashion” and “It’s Not What You Got (It’s How You Use It)” are all featured in this set. Recorded during a time period when “disco” was on its way out.
But her vocal skills are to the fore on the more laid back cuts, the ballads “Tender”, “Still In Love”, “Lovin’ Is On My Mind”, “I’ll Close The Door” and “Just A Memory”. As an accomplished songwriter, she collaborated on a number of key tracks including “Simpler Days”, “What’s The Question” and “Reflections”.
The liner notes include commentary by Carrie Lucas along with a special quote from her daughter Carolyn Griffey, who tours globally with Shalamar. Breaking News: Carrie has made her first new recording in many years, for the UK-relaunched Solar label.
One of soul music’s most under-rated and often ignored singers, and deserving of the spotlight shining on her back catalogue – whetting the appetite for the latest tracks she is apparently putting out today after many years away from the studio.
By Christopher Weston
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’