Sunday, September 9, 2012

Chaka Khan's Fourth Solo Album Hits Boogie

On today’s show we feature the fourth installment of the Chaka Khan 5 album series. The series is now in its fourth week, and today we present the album Chaka Khan—the fourth solo album by American R&B/funk singer Chaka Khan, released on the Warner Bros. Records label in 1982. Also coming up in the Airtel-sponsored second hour of the show we’ll bring you BOOGIE YOU SELECT where YOU get to select 80s groove n’ soul tracks you want me to play.

Chaka Khan is the eponymous fourth solo album. An excellent album from Chaka Khan, mixing tingling up-tempo tunes with her characteristic soaring, glorious vocals. "Got to Be There" reached number five on the R&B charts, but it actually wasn't the album's high point. That was the marvelous "Be Bop Medley," which later led hardcore jazz purist Betty Carter to proclaim Khan the one female singer working outside the jazz arena with legitimate improvising credentials.

Two singles were released from Chaka Khan: the Michael Jackson cover "Got to Be There" (US Pop #67, US R&B #5) and "Tearin' It Up" (US R&B #48), the latter also as a 12" single including an extended remix (- 7:21) as well as an instrumental version (- 8:07), both mixed by Larry Levan and included on Warner Music Japan's 1999 compilation Dance Classics of Chaka Khan. The album track "Slow Dancin'" was a funky ballad duet with the late Rick James. On Billboard's charts, the album reached #5 on Black Albums and #52 on Pop Albums. The "Bebop Medley" won producer Arif Mardin and Khan a Grammy Award in 1984 in the Best Vocal Arrangement For Two Or More Voices category.

Following the release of the Chaka Khan album and the greatest hits package The Very Best of Rufus featuring Chaka Khan later that same year Khan reunited with the band Rufus for one final album together, the double live/studio set Stompin' at the Savoy - Live (1983). Her next solo album I Feel for You -- which I will be featuring on Boogie next Sunday-- followed in 1984.

Despite its many accolades and artistic achievements the Chaka Khan album remained unreleased on CD in both the United States and Europe, and was only available as an import from Japan, until it was finally issued on CD in the UK in 2010 as part of a Five disc set containing Khan's first five solo albums.

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