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Willow

Title - 'Happy Together: Expanded Edition' (BBR)
Artist - Odyssey

Listening to this newly-expanded and remastered CD from Odyssey I have to say once I began my top-up homework on them I was saddened and shocked to discover original lead singer, Tony Reynolds had passed away in 2010.

Filipino bassist and singer Tony Reynolds had joined the group soon after 'Native New Yorker' had reached #21 on the Billboard Hot 100; and #5 in the UK Singles Chart. It was actually later covered by Frankie Valli, if you even care to know that.

Anyway, a string of albums and singles followed and the group managed another R&B chart hit, the monster UK smash 'Inside Out,' which was written by Jesse Rae, produced by Jimmy Douglass and featured music performed by session musicians. Sure it peaked on the US charts at #12, but it set the British charts (and feet) alight when it reached #3 in 1982.

Continuing the trip back in time, Reynolds then left Odyssey after the first album and was replaced by Fayetteville, North Carolina native William "Bill" McEachern; who remained with the group throughout the remainder of its RCA record label output. During that time, Brooklyn-born Steven Collazo joined the group as keyboardist, vocalist and musical director. Indeed, Odyssey are now fronted by Collazo on all their recordings and live shows.

And so to this newly-expanded and remastered Odyssey CD, Happy Together, just re-released this month by Cherry Red Records / BBR. It was actually the groups fifth album at this stage, but with the changing male lead vocals you would have thought that a down turn was to be expected. And yet, no! The American band with a huge following in the UK, and charting each time they released a single - 'Use It Up And Wear It Out,’ 'Hang Together,' 'Going Back To My Roots’ and 'I Got The Melody,' etc. - Happy Together proved to be just that.

It contained one of their biggest ever chart hits, 'Inside Out' which gave the group their highest US placing since their debut ‘Native New Yorker,’ peaking at #12 on the R&B chart. Reaching #3 in the UK it then gave them their biggest hit there since 1980's ‘Use It Up And Wear It Out’ hit the top spot!

Oh, and let's not forget the dancefloor smash hit 'Magic Touch' which just missed out on Top 40 UK chart success (and an appearance on TOTP) at #41. Man, that opening slap-bass funk of 'Happy Together' still resides deep within me today! It's such a shame that the 12" remix isn't on this CD as it's a summer song, top down for sure!

This newly-expanded CD - the first time it has been released on CD anywhere in the entire world - is repackaged and features extensive liner notes, interviews and bonus content. Indeed, Happy Together is an essential purchase for all R&B, Soul, Disco and Pop fans out there!

The complete tracklisting is as follows:

1. TOGETHER
2. INSIDE OUT
3. HAPPY TOGETHER
4. HAPPY PEOPLE
5. WILL YOU LOVE SOMEBODY
6. LOVE'S ALRIGHT
7. MAGIC TOUCH
Bonus Tracks
8. INSIDE OUT (Single Remix)
9. TOGETHER (Single Version)
10. MAGIC TOUCH (Single Remix)
11. HAPPY PEOPLE (Single Version)
12. INSIDE OUT (12” Dance Remix)
13. MAGIC TOUCH (12” Dance Remix)

Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk

CD Purchase Link

www.cherryred.co.uk





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