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Articles Home » 1982 Articles » Warwick, Dionne - 1982 Friends In Love
 
Warwick, Dionne - 1982 Friends In Love



ARTIST: Warwick, Dionne
ALBUM: Friends In Love
LABEL: Arista
SERIAL: AL 9585 (LP)
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: Reissue List..

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Dionne Warwick - vocals

Guests: Johnny Mathis - co lead vocal * Jay Graydon, Steve Lukather, Mike Landau, Marty Walsh, Larry Carlton, Dean Parks - guitars * Steve George, David Foster, Robbie Buchanan, Jay Graydon, Stevie Wonder, Mike Boddicker, Michael Omartian, Steve Porcaro - keyboards, synths, piano * Mike Pocaro, Abraham Laboriel - bass * Mike Baird, Steve Gadd, Jeff Porcaro - drums * Jerry Hey - flugelhorn * Victor Feldman - percussion * Jeremy Lubbock, Johnny Mandel - string arrangements * Richard Page, Steve George, Bill Champlin, Vennette Gloud, Carmen Twillie - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 More Than Fascination * 02 Never Gonna Let You Go * 03 Friends In Love * 04 A Love So Right * 05 For You * 06 With A Touch * 07 Got You Where I Want You * 08 Can't Hide Love * 09 What Is This * 10 Betcha By Golly Wow


Background
According to Billboard magazine, Dionne Warwick is second only to Aretha Franklin as the female vocalist with the most Billboard Hot 100 chart hits from 1955-1999. Although best known for her partnership with songwriters and producers Burt Bacharach and Hal David, in the early 80's Warwick began to branch out and took a modernized approach to her sound, working with the Bee Gees and here with Jay Graydon. Jay produced 'Friends In Love' plus arranged, engineered and played guitar, synthesizer and percussion. Anyone familiar with Graydon knows when he gets involved -especially with the usual cast of a Westcoast/AOR elite, jaw dropping AOR results can erupt even out of the least likely suspects (See Kenny Rogers review elsewhere here on GD).


The Songs
Whether your a fan of Warwick or not, you cannot ignore the class that is on display here. The musicianship is top notch with Graydon concocting an intoxicating brew of fine West Coast bliss. 'More Than Fascination' kicks things off with just enough synths to accentuate Warwick's heavenly pipes, add the background presence of Bill Champlin and Richard Page and you got what West Coast dreams are made of. The title track 'Friends In Love' is a duet with Johnny Mathis, and was co-written by Jay with David Foster. 'Friends In Love' also includes two other songs written by Graydon, 'For You' and 'What Is This' - which are highlights. As good as most of the material is, the downside IMHO are the covers here - (Mann & Weill's 'Never Going To Let You Go' and 'Betcha By Golly Wow'). Of all of these, Earth Wind & Fire's 'Can't Hide Love' is the only cover that really draws more than a perfunctory performance from Dionne, with a sophistication that matches hers. By contrast, 'Betcha' is excruciating to listen to, as Warwick repeats the melody line without any sort of variation. The Stevie Wonder donated 'With A Touch' (with the Wonder himself on piano) combines the same approach to melody and phrasing Stevie touched on during his 'In Square Circle' - era but with the warm live instrumentation of sounds used in his 70 classic recordings. Warwick responds to the latter with a fine, delicate performance. The aforementioned 'What Is This' borders on AOR and features the Porcaro brothers along with Richard Page. Classy stuff.


In Summary
Now out of print (aside for the Japanese BMG exclusive CD reissue which can be found for somewhat hefty prices) 'Friends In Love' produced a top 40 single in the form of it's title track duet with Johnny Mathis. While this Graydon produced effort wasn't exactly met with much 'love' chart wise, her next full-length collaboration was. Warwick's scored a huge hit later that same year with the Barry Gibb produced album 'Heartbreaker'. The title track became one of Dionne's biggest international hits, peaking on Billboard's Hot 100 at #10 in January 1983 and #1 AC in the USA and #2 in the UK. Internationally, 'Heartbreaker' was also a smash in continental Europe, Australia, Japan, South Africa, Canada, and Asia. 'Heartbreaker' sold over 3 million internationally and earned Dionne an RIAA USA gold record award for the album. It has been said Dionne was not fond of 'Heartbreaker' but recorded the tune because she trusted the Bee Gees' judgment that it would be a hit. Despite my love for the Bee Gees and the fact the release had it's share of AOR moments too, it lacked the class and sophistication of this Graydon produced gem. In fact, Jay Graydon's produced works with Air Supply, George Benson, Al Jarreau, El DeBarge, Sheena Easton and the album 'They Don't Make Them Like They Used To' by Kenny Rogers all are highly recommended by this writer and contain the type of classy West Coast/AOR on display here.


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Comments
#1 | sabace on August 25 2008 14:07:25
I love dionne warwick, classy lady . Much prefer her classic
stuff like ' walk on by ' etc .
#2 | Eric on August 27 2008 13:38:23
Always loved here Barry Gibb penned 'Heartbreaker' Nice to see this here Jeff.
 
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