Steve Arrington Jam Packed

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Steve Arrington Jam Packed AFTER a long hiatus and a label change, Steve Arrington is back in the land of the recorded living! The ex-front man for Slave marks his switch from Atlantic/Cotillion to Manhattan with what most critics feel is his best and, even more importantly, his most commercial effort yet "jam Packed".


AFTER a long hiatus and a label change, Steve Arrington is back in the land of the recorded living! The ex-front man for Slave marks his switch from Atlantic/Cotillion to Manhattan with what most critics feel is his best and, even more importantly, his most commercial effort yet "jam Packed". In his own words; "I'd say this album is more song orientated and more melodic and reflects where I am today, musically speaking. In the past, maybe I have not concentrated as much on songs as I should have done."

A perfect example of this is the lyrically strong "Kelly 16-33" track. "In the community that I grew up in, the people would often say how a girl would be sixteen (years old) going on 33. It always seemed like a good idea for a song but I hadn't got around to it until now. Maybe the timing is just right. You read about it every day ? babies having babies. 'On one of my earlier albums, I touched on the subject with "Willie Mae" ? but this is even more street. Man, the street is no place for a woman far less for a young girl. The streets win every time, believe me!" "Jam Packed" also reunites Steve with Jimmy Douglas, renowned for his success as co-producer on most of the old Slave hits. "When I first joined Manhattan, Gerry Griffith asked me if I wanted to be sole producer or work with outside producers and we looked at several of the hot guys of the day. Then, Gerry mentioned Jimmy and he told me how Jimmy had got into electronics and, most especially the synciavier ? and that clinched it! We had worked so much together and, I think, developed a mutual respect and that continued on into this "I guess this album is conceptually Steve Arrington but Jimmy had a lot of input into it."

THE LABEL switch? "Oh, I think I just needed a change. I'd been at Atlantic for a long that I think their interest in me had dimmed. I'd been there with Slae, the Hall of Fame and then my two solo albums and I just got the feeling they really weren't into what I was doing any more. It's as easy as that, really" It's also worth noting that the Slave influence is less visible (audible!) on this Arrington album than any of its four Cotillion predecessors. "I'd agree with that," Steve conceds. "When I look back at the four albums ... it was so hard, believe me. With the first album, there were so many Slave split-off groups that there were a whole bunch of different groups making Slave music. After that, I purposely avoided the Slave sound. "I tried for something harder-funkier and rockier because I didn't want to be pigeon-holed! as another Slave split-off. And I with each album, I've tried to | get further and further away from sounding like a Slave offshoot. But I think it has taken me until now to finally achieve that aim. It's been real hard to shed.
"You see, Slave were never a single-orientated group. Sure, they had hit singles ? but they were the last of an era of groups who went for hit albums rather than hit singles. They really were the last to follow the concept and their problem today is that they haven't made the transition to what is, happening today. Today, you have to have good

FINALLY, Steve's ill-fated UK tour of two years ago. "I really don't want to make a lot of excuses," he begins. "However . . . that Odeon Hammersmith show fiasco! my contract had called for a sixty minute show and that was what I had rehearsed with my band. On the night, I learned that I had to do ninety minutes and, of course, it was too late to do anything about it. I got off into a spiritual thing and it clashed with what the public wanted. "If I had it to do over again, I'd do it differently, sure! I'd rehearse for a ninety minute show at all costs. But I have learned a lot from it. I pay a lot more attention today to the small print than I used to do. "Being booed didn't worry me, though ?- after all, I remember when Prince was booed on the Rolling Stones tour! Let's just say I have taken it in my stride!" B&S Nov '97

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