This month, members of Vinyl Me, Please Classics will receive an exclusive 180-gram edition of Patrice Rushen's Straight From the Heart, her pop smash album that would go on to infamy when its biggest songs were sampled by rap producers. This new edition was remastered AAA by Peter Beckmann at Technology Works, and pressed at QRP on 180g black vinyl. Head here to read our new liner notes, and read below for why we picked this album.
Andrew Winistorfer, Classics A&R: In the early ‘80s, a bunch of jazz musicians (George Benson, Herbie Hancock, etc.) all went soft funk-pop; they stopped making straight jazz records and were making these pretty adventurous-sounding pop records. And Patrice Rushen was like a jazz wunderkind: she was three years old, playing the piano and composing. She was a really well-respected jazz musician in the late-'70s, but when she made that same switch that all these other artists did, she got really penalized for it. People called her a sellout, she didn’t get as much respect for making those same moves.
Michael Penn II: I wonder why…
AW: Yeah, wonder why… it was very clearly because she was a woman. I feel like this is a record that deserves to be held up with the Geroge Benson records that everybody’s parents owned. This was an incredible, great airy pop record, and you can hear the echoes of this in Solange, in Jhené Aiko, in SZA… They’re all making this very light airy R&B that has deeper philosophical underpinnings. It’s shit you can dance to, but also really well-constructed and arranged and composed.
This felt like a great opportunity to remind people that Patrice Rushen was doing that shit, too, and deserved more respect than she got. One of the songs on this - “Forget Me Nots” - did actually become a light hit; it’s the sample from Will Smith’s “Men in Black.” So, it got a second life, but it feels like she’s still not as known as she should be. The label iK7 came to us once they acquired the Patrice Rushen catalog, and this was the record me and Alex really grativated to for a subscription record.
It’s a really fun Classics record; some of the records we do are very serious, chin-strokey jazz records, and this one felt like an opportunity to have a very fun record as a ROTM. We’re also doing an exclusive of Posh, the album that came before this. Straight from the Heart is a record we’re really excited about.
AW: This is from the original master tapes, and the lacquers were pressed on black vinyl at QRP in Kansas, like they always are. The liner notes were written by Oliver Wang, who also wrote the liner notes for our Betty Davis release a few years ago. He’s a really great writer, he interviewed Patrice. She’s gonna be touring in Europe like crazy later this year, so this is sort of, like, psart of the kickoff thing of her comeback in Europe.
Michael Penn II (aka CRASHprez) is a rapper and a former VMP staff writer. He's known for his Twitter fingers.
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