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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Kennedy, Joyce - 1984 Looking For Trouble
Kennedy, Joyce - 1984 Looking For Trouble

ARTIST: Kennedy, Joyce
ALBUM: Looking For Trouble
SERIAL: SP 4996 (USA), AMLX 64996 (Europe)
YEAR: 1984


LINEUP: Joyce Kennedy - vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Tailor Made * 02 Chase The Night * 03 Love Is A Bet * 04 Chain Reaction * 05 Looking For Trouble * 06 Watch My Body * 07 The First Time I Made Love (duet with Jeffrey Osborne) * 08 Stronger Than Before * 09 You Can Bet Your Life

At the conclusion of Mothers Finest first foray as a band (1983), all the personnel moved off to new territory. Guitarist Moses Mo headed up new Atlanta based band Illusion, drummer Barry 'BB Queen' Borden departed for a stint with Molly Hatchet, while bassist Jerry Seay would eventually hook up with Rick Medlocke and Blackfoot. Meanwhile, lead singer Joyce 'Baby Jean' Kennedy was in a prime position to pursue a solo career, as the heavily electronic funk & disco/R&B scene was an ideal situation for her musical attributes. Other black artists were raiding the charts. One only has to see how far the likes of Lionel Ritchie, Jeffrey Osborne, Chaka Khan and the Pointer Sisters succeeded during this early-mid 80's era. Still retained by the A&M label, Kennedy would release two albums during her solo career: this one, and 1985's 'Wanna Play Your Game'.

The Songs
For Kennedy's debut, it is essentially an album of two halves. Leon Sylvers (of disco band The Sylvers would produce and write/co-write all the songs on Side 1, while the aforementioned Jeffrey Osborne produced Side 2, which is less about funk, and drifts close to west coast and R&B. It's all big drum machines, funky bass lines and funky 'just about everything else' on 'Tailor Made'. a bit stop/start and less streamlined than the fluid 'Chase The Night', Jean taking a leaf out of the Pointer Sisters hit-heavy LP from the previous year 'Break Out'. 'Love Is A Bet' prowls the soundscape like a slinky cat, even better is the synth ridden 'Chain Reaction' with a mighty guitar solo in the middle. The title track 'Looking For Trouble' stutters along a bit in mid tempo, not really getting out of second gear. 'Watch My Body' features warm synths all round, again a direction much like the aforementioned Pointer Sisters. The highest profile song on the album is the duet with Jeffrey Osborne 'The First Time I Made Love', for which there is a Soul Train video for on YouTube. Another album highlight for me at least is the west coast/AOR like 'Stronger Than Before'. It's clear that Side 2 tracks are far more in keeping for GDAZE listeners than the disco/funk material on Side 1. And just as I say that, 'You Can Bet Your Life' makes a liar of me, finishing up the album with a load of popping bass and keyboard effects though not overly funk-ified as before.

In Summary
I'm surprised this album flew under the radar during 1984, as this was the timeframe when albums such as this were very popular. One can only assume that the American mainstream public circa 1984 were not aware of Kennedy's profile in the soul/R&B/funk scene outside of Atlanta, given that her recent work was mainly rock based. Released by A&M in both the U.S and Europe, no doubt due to Mothers Finest huge fan-base in the Netherlands and Germany, it's easily available on vinyl, but has yet to see a CD reissue. As a sidenote, the U.S release features 9 tracks (those listed above); while the European release features an additional 10th track 'Different Now'.

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#1 | reyno-roxx on July 12 2013 21:43:31
This woman could sing the phone book and I'd buy it. Was over the moon when I found 'Wanna Play Your Game' for 50 cents in St Marks Sounds on a trip to NYC in 1992. Joyce's two albums DO need reissuing on CD. Surprised Universal in Germany or Holland hasn't put them out way before now.
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