The 1976 album soul songstress and session vocalist Madeline Bell recorded with veteran library musician Alan Parker for his Themes International label. The album itself remains a highly prized (and priced) rarity for collectors, and features the irresistibly catchy jazzy-soul samba of "That's What Friends Are For”. Whilst this sensational uptempo dancer - a surefire hit on the rare groove scene - is the most well known track on the record, it is by no means the best. It’s essentially a perfect, sophisticated soul album – with heaps of swagger and sass – from beginning to end; just check the sound clips capture a feel.
The whole LP oozes sex to such a degree, it would not have sounded out of place soundtracking a period porn film. Indeed, parts of it did. The wonderful “Love Is All” and sensuous “You’ve Got What It Takes” both featured on the infamously banned Pretty Peaches from the same year.
With original copies rarely surfacing, and fetching three figures when they do, this remastered reissue represents a fine opportunity to own one of the finer rare soul LPs of the late 70s and a welcome reminder of Bell’s superlative vocal talents.
Originally produced exclusively for use by film and TV studios and never commercially released, library records have long been a goldmine for the collector and sampler alike. The music was created to evoke moods, situations and emotional responses and, at it’s best, it was truly extraordinary. Creative and futuristic, it is now regarded as some of most inventive music of its time.
Crafted by the some of the greatest musical minds of the late 20th century, these expert musicians and innovative composers revelled in the freedoms offered, paradoxically, by this most corporate of fields, indulging themselves in ways they couldn’t on records made for general release. The calibre of the musicians certainly raised the bar, too. Robin Phillips, who ran KPM in its heyday, wanted only the best. “You couldn’t do an album of the quality Robin demanded without the A-team,” as Brian Bennett recently recalled.