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Saturday, Nov 11 2017 | 13:38
Image: 1616529 This customarily smooth set from 1981 is perhaps most famous for featuring three unforgettable tracks made with Marcos Valle. Rio's pop-soul wunderkind was exploring soul textures at the same time as Leon was absorbing the rich flavour of Brazilian harmonics. Together, they crafted rhythmically sophisticated and melodically adventurous soul.

The centrepiece of the album is the lush, creeping title track - a hypnotically arranged stepper's groove and an enduring classic. A perfect slice of orchestral soul, it features Leon's patented unusual chord progressions, Valle on Rhodes and restrained string arrangements from Gene Page.

The nimble funk groove of "Baby Don't Stop Me" is another collaborative delight and one of Leon's rare uptempo tunes. "Got To Be Loved" is a timeless ballad, a sublime quiet storm version of Valle's loping jazz-funk favourite "Bicho No Cio".

As with all Leon records, the lyrical themes are deeply eternal throughout, whilst the music is elegant, soulful and sensual. Beyond the Valle co-writes, the soaring instrumental "Don't Stay Away" is a real highlight, possessing an intricate melody and another heavenly string arrangement from the incredible Page. On the pleading sultry soul of "Sure Do Want You Now," Ware's uniquely expressive vocals are especially impassioned and polished.

This officially licensed reissue enables a wider audience to now discover its undoubted genius. The sumptuous artwork of the original jacket and inner sleeve have been faithfully restored, the latter featuring Leon's memorable lyrics. Simon Francis' sensitive mastering elevates the sound throughout and, as ever, it has been pressed at a reassuringly weighty 180g.

"When we started to write, we found how easy it was, and at the same time how new it was, combining the feeling I had and the feeling he had", Valle explained to Wax Poetics on the subject of his fruitful partnership with Leon. The magic conjured up by fusing R&B with Brazilian rhythms and touches of jazz, funk, and pop resulted in a modern-soul/boogie essential.

Tracklisting
1 A Little Boogie (Never Hurt No One)
2 Baby Don't Stop Me
3 Sure Do Want You Now
4 Our Time
5 Rockin' You Eternally
6 Got To Be Loved
7 Don't Stay Away
8 In Our Garden Available from 01.12.2017
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