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Articles Home » 1982 Articles » Wolfer, Bill - 1982 Wolf
Wolfer, Bill - 1982 Wolf

ARTIST: Wolfer, Bill
LABEL: Constellation
SERIAL: 9 60187-1
YEAR: 1982


LINEUP: Bill Wolfer - piano, keyboards, rhodes C6-80, mini-moog, micro-moog, prophet 5, LMI drum computer, emulator, vocoder and Arp16 voice piano * Nathan Watts - bass, fretless bass * Stevie Wonder - harmonica * Jon Gibson, Finis Henderson, Crystal Blake - vocals * Michael Jackson, Oren Waters, Maxine Waters, Julia Waters - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Call Me * 02 So Shy * 03 Window On A Dream * 04 Papa Was A Rollin' Stone * 05 Nobody Knows * 06 Why Do You Do Me * 07 Wake Up * 08 Soaring * 09 Camouflage * 10 Pop Quiz

Bill Wolfer has been around the block and back when it comes to session appearances. His work can be heard on albums from Devo, Stevie Wonder and Fee Waybill to Shalamar and Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' as well as on the classic 'Footloose' soundtrack. I remember when this album came out, passing it over it a number of times simply because of Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson's names on the back cover, but eventually buying a copy in a moment of crazed abandon and being pleasantly surprised with its pop, soul and smooth jazz mixture.

The Songs
'Wolf' is a delightful album from beginning to end and unusual for its mixture of pop and smooth jazz instrumentals. I suppose Paul Hardcastle could be a valid reference point as Wolfer uses an arsenal of keyboards here and explores the same 'synth jazz' territory as Hardcastle, but the music on 'Wolf' I find is more interesting from an AOR/west coast perspective and on the opening track 'Call Me' with vocalist Finis Henderson sounds very much like Michael McDonald gone hi-tech. Nicely done and I believe this song was released as a single, rightly so. 'So Shy' features future CCM star Jon Gibson singing lead and the weird one himself - Michael Jackson on background vocal duty. I expected to hate this tune and it is pretty funky but the vocal interplay between the two vocalist's works surprisingly well. This is followed by three instrumentals, the classically inspired 'Window On A Dream', a cover of the Motown hit 'Papa Was A Rollin' Stone' and the smooth jazz cool of 'Nobody Knows'. On the flip we get a little more soul with pride of place going to the gorgeous 'Soaring' with vocals from yet another CCM star to be - Crystal Lewis. This is followed by two excellent instrumentals; the appropriately funky 'Camouflage' and the quirky but fun 'Pop Quiz' which closes the record on a high note.

In Summary
1990 saw the release of a second Wolfer album 'Caught Up In Blue Light' which I have yet to hear, but upon researching for this review I was surprised to find 'Call Me - The Best Of Bill Wolfer' available on CD from Amazon. Needless to say, my order is in for this disc and my highest recommendation for what I think is one of the best pop crossover albums of the 1980's.

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This article has been tagged
Tags: Bill Wolfer 
#1 | gerard on January 05 2010 22:07:44
Hey Eric, thought I'd seen the name of Finis Henderson before, and after having searched stacks of long forgotten albums I eventually found what I had been looking for: Henderson's album 'Finis'. You might like it. Tons of westcoast stars play on it (Porcaro, Laboriel, Lukather, Landau etc etc). Released on Motown in 1983. The song 'Call me' (co-written by Wolfer) is also included.
#2 | Eric on January 06 2010 22:23:41
Sounds cool Gerard. Thanks for the tip!
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