Title - Dynasty: 4 Classic Albums on 3 CDs!
Artist - Dynasty
For those unaware, these Dynasty albums - Your Piece Of The Rock, Adventures In The Land Of Music, The Second Adventure and Right Back At Cha! - cover a period from 1979 through to 1988 when the Los Angeles-created band were key to the success of SOLAR Records.
Put together by producer and label head Dick Griffey, and record producer Leon Sylvers III, the band was completed by keyboardist Kevin Spencer and vocalists Nidra Beard and Linda Carriere.
The Your Piece Of The Rock album features the full length 7:20 version of I Donít Want To Be A Freak (But I Canít Help Myself) a club classic from 1979, while Adventures In The Land Of Music includes their Top 10 R&B smash Iíve Just Begun To Love You as well as the super cool album title track.
Dynasty followed that in 1981 with The Second Adventure album and the single Here I Am, a real banger that kicks the package off. The album also featured the RnB charting Love In The Fast Lane.
Right Back At Cha! followed in 1982 featuring a host of great dance tracks including Check It Out and Strokiní.
CD 1: Your Piece Of The Rock (1979)
1. Your Piece Of The Rock
2. I Donít Want To Be A Freak (But I Canít Help Myself)
4. When You Feel Like Giving Love (Dial My Number)
5. Itís Still A Thrill
By late 1979 / early 1980, it was obvious that Dick Griffeyís Solar Records had as distinctive and recognizable a sound as Motown and Stax in the 1960s or Philadelphia International in the 1970s.
Put on just about any late-í70s or early- to mid-í80s recording by the Whispers, Shalamar, Midnight Star, or Dynasty, and it only takes a few notes to realize that youíre listening to a Solar recording.
Dynasty wasnít as big as the Whispers or Shalamar, but the Los Angeles-based vocal group did enjoy a few hits and made some valuable contributions to the Solar catalog.
Produced by Leon F. Sylvers III, Dynastyís debut LP Your Piece of the Rock sported the almost eight-minutes long disco smash I Donít Wanna Be a Freak (But I Canít Help Myself), which went to number 36 on the R&B charts in the fall of 1979.
The title track, Satisfied, and Still a Thrill were also dancefloor favorites with the mid-tempo ballad Dial My Number hearkening back to the producer/group leaderís work with his family, the Sylvers.
For those wanting to know more, Your Piece of the Rock was reissued as a 1999 CD, and some of the albumís tracks can be found on Greatest Hits and the 1994 Sequel CD The Best of Dynasty.
CD 1: Adventures In The Land Of Music (1980)
6. Iíve Just Begun To Love You
7. Groove Control
8. Take Another Look At Love
9. Day And Night
10. Do Me Right
11. Something To Remember
12. Adventures In The Land Of Music
13. Ice Breaker
Adventures in the Land of Music, which came out on vinyl in 1980 and was reissued on CD by the Canadian Unidisc label in 2001, is Dynastyís second album - and it is arguably the groupís most essential.
Adventures contains the Angelinosí biggest hit, Iíve Just Begun to Love You, as well as the equally danceable single Do Me Right, but the singles arenít the only things that make this album produced by Leon Sylvers III worth owning.
For Adventures also contains a lot of memorable album tracks, which range from dance-oriented numbers like Ice Breaker, Day and Night, and Groove Patrol to the soul ballad Take Another Look at Love.
Dynasty is best remembered for up-tempo dance and disco-funk material, but Take Another Look at Love demonstrates that the group was quite capable of handling romantic soul ballads.
Because Dynasty favored a lot of male/female vocal interaction and was so Solar-sounding, the group was often compared to another part-male, part-female group, Shalamar.
But Dynasty had an appealing identity of its own, and that identity serves the quartet well on this excellent sophomore effort.
CD 2: The Second Adventure (1981)
1. Here I Am
2. Pain, Got A Hold On Me
3. A Man In Love
4. Give Your Love To Me
5. Youíre My Angel
6. Love In The Fast Lane
8. Give It Up For Love
9. High Time (I Left You Baby)
10. That Loviní Feeliní
Their longtime producer Leon Sylvers III became the fifth member of the group for their third effort The Second Adventure. However, his profile in the group did little to to help with their continuing fame, sadly.
Also not helping matters was the issue surrounding all of the 1981 releases on Solar Records. Around that time, label founder Dick Griffey rush released recordings on Solar to get out of their distribution with RCA to enter into a partnership with Elektra, where he continued to rush release recordings. As a result, all of the albums by the acts on the roster suffered marketing and promotion problems.
Anyway, back on track (so to speak), and for my money, The Second Adventure contained some of their best work. With Leon Sylvers III at the helm with co-production by Kevin Spencer and William Shelby, their album has songs that could have easily have come together to create a very classic record.
Stand out tracks for me are the openers such as Here I Am (a song about still wanting to be in love despite being hurt which was co-written by Midnight Star members Melvin Gentry and Belinda Lipscomb), a man that fancies himself a ladiesí man gets his comeuppance on the funky Pain, Got A Hold On Me, while A Man In Love shows someone who cannot hide their happiness and feelings over their significant other.
Overall, The Second Adventure is a great yet overlooked album by Dynasty. Sadly, the group would never reach the level of success that their labelmates achieved - mostly because they gave away songs that became huge hits for their peers The Whispers and Shalamar!
CD 2: Right Back At Cha! (1982)
11. Check It Out
13. The Only One
15. Does That Ring A Bell
16. Straight Out
17. Right Back At Cha!
CD 3: Right Back At Cha! (1982) [Continued]
1. Thatís The Way I Feel About You
2. I Canít Stop Loviní You
3. Allís Fair In Love And War
This is one of my favorite Dynasty albums along with Adventures in the Land of Music, but unfortunately the funky slammer Check It Out was the groupís only hit on the album (peaking at a low #39 on the R&B charts in late 1982) and last hit to date.
It was funky and classy from beginning to end and will work up quite a sweat! Questions is another favorite of mine that should have been a single while Strokiní and Does That Ring A Bell keeps that classic galactic funky that SOLAR records was known for.
The Only One was one of the earliest Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis compositions that was written well, in my humble opinion. Straight Out was raw and had Klymaxx in mind while The Way I Feel About You was a laid back and sentimental ballad headlined by William Shelby that was produced well and should also have been a single.
Since black music was slowly shifting by abandoning authentic and live instruments in favor of New Wave, Electronic, and/or soft pop, this album went unnoticed which was a mistake.
After this album, Leon returned to finishing up The Look album for Shalamar, Love For Love album by The Whispers, and to venture to work with artists outside of SOLAR records such as Evelyn King, Rockie Robbins, Glenn Jones, and The legendary Detroit Spinners.
Linda Carriere left the group after this album and the rest of the group continued their song writing and production for other artists before they did it again for 1986ís release, Daydreaminí.
CD 3: Bonus Tracks
4. Your Piece Of The Rock (7″ Version)
5. I Donít Want To Be A Freak (But I Canít Help Myself) (7″ Version)
6. Satisfied (7″ Version)
7. When You Feel Like Giving Love (Dial My Number) (7″ Version)
8. Iíve Just Begun To Love You (7″ Version)
9. Do Me Right (7″ Version)
10. Something To Remember (7″ Version)
11. Love In The Fast Lane (7″ Version)
This brand new Dynasty: 4 Classic Albums 3CD box-set from Robinsongs / Cherry Red Records (UK) (releasing December 3rd, 2021) contains four fantastic albums by SOLAR recording artists Dynasty, plus ten bonus 7Ē versions of their biggest hits, and comes with new sleeve notes from MOJO and Record Collector journalist Charles Waring.
Official 3CD Purchase Link