How does this remarkable little album still remain unknown? I found it recently on an obscure label in a CD Store and grabbed it, as the legendary prices it commanded on Ebay were common knowledge to followers of the neo-soul movement.
For newcomers to the album, this album was released in 1974 in limited quantities on vinyl, and to date is vocalist Gloria Scott’s only album (no one knows what happened to her either). As the only album she recorded, it failed within the US, but for some reason developed a cult following in Europe, and strangely enough, in Japan. In fact, the Japanese audience was sizable enough that the first ever CD release of this happened only within Japan.
Cut to 2003, when Mercury Records finally decide to release this on CD within the States, but again in limited quantities, which is bad news for you because you might not be able to find this as easily as you think you might be able to.
So what does the music sound like – well, think of some old school Diana Ross, slowed down even more and layered with a luscious jazz and blues ambience. Its stripped down, almost acoustic, and yet every track manages to sound different and unique. My personal favorite is “Its Better to have no Love” which best exemplifies the kind of superb songwriting that was present back in the 1970s. “A Case of too Much Lovemakin” was actually a minor R&B hit within the US in 1974 – but ask anyone who followed music back in that year about Gloria Scott and they’d go “Who?”
I love obscure, rare releases such as this one. Gloria Scott created an instant classic, and it holds up just beautifully. I’d suggest you get your hands on this as soon as possible. I think Mary J Blige possibly has this album though, as almost EVERY song on this album sounds like it could have inspired almost all of the best songs in Blige’s catalog. Either way, this is a must-have.
-Cabir Davis, amazon.com
Gloria Scott-WHAT AM I GONNA DO (1974)