After the sublime Nite Flite and the pretty impressive Nite Flite 2, CBS decided to continue with the series and unleashed Nite Flite 3 in 1990. The tagline was “Being With You” and the sleeve bore an image of water rippling. The following artists were listed on the front: Smokey Robinson, The SOS Band, Alyson Williams, Luther Vandross, Bobby Brown, The Isley Brothers, Billy Paul, David A Stewart and Candy Dulfer, Temptations.
Studio Sound Recorders, January 1981: Smokey Robinson laid down Being With You. This hot soul jam topped the UK charts that June and Tony Bates nailed it in his assessment – “His tunes are like sweets when you’re a kid, his lyrics are like poetry without the pretention, his voice is like honey – he’s the best.” It reminds me of breaking up for the summer holidays – I’d just finished third class – and the afternoon radio played this a lot. Another hot one from the airwaves was the slick New York Eyes, credited to Nicole with Timmy Thomas, a 1985 master blaster. Next come the SOS Band and the evergreen Just Be Good To Me – funk and bassline used to maximum effect. And then Alexander O’Neal’s melodic A Broken Hand Can Mend, the opening tune on his self-titled LP, subsequently released as a single which peaked at #53 in the UK. More genius Jam & Lewis.
Alyson Williams’ plaintive I Need Your Lovin’ brings us up to date before a detour back to 1983 and Mtume’s crucial Juicy Fruit. Revel in its amazing soul beats and sizzling bassline with keyboards by ex Parliament and Funkadelic member Bernie Worrell. After that we slow down on Heatwave’s reflective Always And Forever which is then followed by All I Want Is Forever, a tired and emotional tearjerker from James “JT” Taylor and Regina Belle. We then go back to 1982 and Billy Griffin’s first solo album, from which Hold Me Tighter In The Rain is taken. An upfront slice of classic soul – a description that’s equally applicable to Luther Vandross’ superb Never Too Much. Check out the video and its urban street scenes. Originally released in 1981 and remixed by Justin Strauss in 1989.
We go right back to 1972 for Billy Paul (not to be confused with Billy Preston) and his restful, easy Me & Mrs Jones. And then slip into bed with The Isley Brothers’ intense Between The Sheets, later used by The Notorious B.I.G. for Big Poppa. And now – a memory of the Sylmar earthquake: “There was an earthquake in the early 70s about 6.00am. We all ran in closet. All seven of us! my uncle turned that little transistor radio on and the Temptations’ song Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) was playing. I miss Cali earthquakes and all!” There is nothing as soft as that song, one that’s been there all my life. The remaining pair of songs are like an epilogue; the evocative instrumental Lily Was Here followed by Bobby Brown’s new found maturity on Rock Wit Cha, a memory from when songs had a single version, album version, radio edit version, video version, extended version and maybe even a remix. This one’s for Janet Jackson.
Luther Vandross – Never Too Much
Temptations – Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)
Lest we forget
James “JT” Taylor & Regina Belle – All I Want Is Forever