Patrice Rushen – 1982 – Straight From the Heart
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A very influential album, sampled many times and it was named by Alicia Keys as one of her top 25 records. You can hear the influence of Patrice Rushen in Alicia’s vocals and songwriting styles and Aaliyah’s vocals and tempos.
Well, this isn’t only about its influence. It’s a lovely sounding album, best heard on the 82 US or German vinyl pressing, and always seems one of a kind. Made in the early 80s but with a sound that came into fashion in the late 70s and then returned in the 90s. Of course the most famous track is ‘Forget Me Nots‘ but there’s a lot of other great songs here.
‘Remind Me‘ is stunning and ‘Where There Is Love‘ is also a highlight.
So Patrice started off as a virtuoso jazz funk musician; her earlier albums were to varying degrees likeable. ‘Shout It Out’ being a classic of its kind.
Then with ‘Posh‘ she turned soul, got into singing more, and that led to the r&b milestone of ‘Straight from the Heart.’ It’s an album that sounds great in summer and is of interest for any younger r&b fans or musicians and singers, who admire that streamlined but organic sound she achieved here.
A1 Forget Me Nots 4:42
A2 I Was Tired of Being Alone 3:49
A3 All We Need 5:50
A4 Number One (Instrumental) 4:55
B1 Where There Is Love 3:07
B2 Breakout! 4:04
B3 If Only 3:19
B4 Remind Me 5:15
B5 (She Will) Take You Down to Love 4:20
An early-’80s jazz-pop-R&B synthesis as durable and pleasing as any other, Straight from the Heart was Patrice Rushen’s most successful album, at least from a sales standpoint: it peaked at number 14 on the pop chart, 25 slots higher than 1980’s Pizzazz. Still working with a core group of associates — including Freddie Washington, Charles Mims, Paul M. Jackson, and Marlo Henderson (along with a still young Gerald Albright) — that went back to her earlier Elektra albums, the material here is as slick as ever, but not at the expense of lighter rhythms or less memorable melodies. Much of the album’s popularity can be attributed to the club hit “Forget Me Nots“, Rushen’s most-known single — a breezy, buoyant mixture of handclaps, fingersnaps, twisting bass, and Rushen’s typically blissful (and not overplayed) electric piano, not to mention the incorporation of a bad bass-and-percussion breakdown.
(If you were born after the mid-’70s or so, you’d be more likely to recognize the song as the basis of Will Smith’s “Men in Black.”) Beyond a forgettable ballad or two, the only disappointment is the Brenda Russell collaboration on “Breakout!“, where rock affectations (gnarling electric guitar, grimacing vocal tactics that suit neither Rushen nor Russell) damage what could’ve been a bigger hit. “Remind Me” despite not being released as a single, is a sweet and low-slung groove that has been sampled and interpolated by no less than a dozen significant rap and R&B songs — including Faith Evans’ “Fallin’ in Love“, Notorious B.I.G.’s “Unbelievable“, MoKenStef’s “He’s Mine” and Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s “I Need You Tonight“. But it’s not like anything about this album requires that kind of validation. [Rhino’s 1996 reissue adds the 12” versions of all three singles, including seven very replayable minutes of “Forget Me Nots,” as well as two single edits.]