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Articles Home » 1984 Articles » Ritenour, Lee - 1984 Banded Together
Ritenour, Lee - 1984 Banded Together

ARTIST: Ritenour, Lee
ALBUM: Banded Together
LABEL: Elektra
SERIAL: 60358-1
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 1994, Discovery, 1046-71018-2


LINEUP: Click for personnel/credits..

TRACK LISTING: 01 Operator (Thief On The Line) * 02 Other Love * 03 Sunset Drivers * 04 Mandela * 05 Amaretto * 06 Rit Variations II * 07 Be Good To Me * 08 I'm Not Responsible * 09 Shadow Dancing * 10 Heavenly Bodies


This album is Lee Ritenour's third pop-oriented album released by Elektra during the early 80's. It follows 1981's 'Rit' and 1982's 'Rit 2', both superb West Coast affairs. In between, Lee released a Japan only release 'On The Line', which was also instrumental. 'Banded Together' was less pure West Coast, the overall sound coming off like the debut Mr Mister album 'Who Wears The Face'. I bought the original LP upon release, but I recall not playing it as often as those first two Rit LP's. The imagery for the album cover was quite modern and glitzy which put me off slightly.

The Songs
The drums sound like a product of the over-produced 80's. Think Linn drums, Simmons drums etc, the production ended up being too synthetic to my way of listening. Ritenour even tinkered with new technology such as the Synth Axe, which made an appearance on his next album, 1986's 'Earth Run', but thankfully not here. Still, a couple of tracks stick out for me, and I'm sent back to 1984 on a time-travel jaunt (much like Michael J Fox) remembering the first time I played the thing. 'Operator (Thief On The Line') was very funky, upbeat and modern (for 1984 at least), the next track 'Other Love' is a percussive affair. Not quite Santana during this era, but you get the drift. 'Sunset Drivers' is very groovy, and gets high marks from me. Very cool tune! 'Mandela' was obviously drawn from the political rifts of the day, musically though, this is an intense piece, and I enjoy it for what it is, though I feel you'll need to compartmentalize the sentiment, considering what happened in South African political history in the years that followed. 'Amareto' is a sweet instrumental, though better served as a Coffee Liquier at evenings end more likely. 'Rit Variations II' was heard previously on 'On The Line', though this version is far speedier. I like the pure West Coast affair that is 'Be Good To Me', with Eric Tagg on lead vocals leading the way. 'I'm Not Responsible' is in the vein of the previously described Mr Mister. You'll either like it or loathe it. It's not really Ritenour in his tried and true territory, but hey.. 'Shadow Danicng' is a funky near disco effort, akin to Ritenour's earlier work such as 'Cross My Heart', or even a guy like Michael Narada Walden. 'Heavenly Bodies' an instrumental was also heard on 'On The Line'. A beaut track.

In Summary
'Banded Together' features many of Lee's best friends in the L.A session scene, and they all gather around like a protective flock. I'm not quite as convinced with this material as previous albums. As it turned out, it would be Lee's last album with Elektra, moving to Dave Grusin's label GRP Records, the deal would see many of his subsequent albums released on GRP, but I think without a doubt, the quartet of his 'Rit', 'Rit2', 'On The Line' and 'Banded Together' albums easily sees Ritenour within Glory Daze territory.

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#1 | jeffrey343 on January 02 2016 19:03:48
I had never listened to this album until today, but it is a good one. A little less smooth-jazzy than other stuff he's done, but definitely a sound that was popular back then and that has aged well to my ears. Glad you reviewed this - I can never get enough of this stuff.
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