Most Wanted! Gladys Knight & The Pips – Taste Of Bitter Love (Columbia)
“You feel like crying, you feel like dying. Sorry this time it’s not the sweet wine. Taste of bitter love, that’s what you got…” As many words makin’ no doubt about the theme of this vibrant gem. No more than its (sophisticated) arrangements about the identity of its producers: Ashford & Simpson. Or the identity of its performers, with Gladys Knight reachin’ another peak.
Released back in 1980 as a part of their ‘About Love’, ‘Taste Of Bitter Love’ marked a turning point in many ways for Gladys Knight and cohorts. First because it had seen them switching to Columbia. Therefore putting an end to their long relationship with Buddah Records. But also because it marked the start of their collaboration with Ashford & Simpson. With the latter eventually adding lyrics to their classic ‘Bourgie Bourgie’ for the occasion. Even though the first sung version appeared a few months before as a part of John Davis & The Monster Orchestra‘s ‘The Monster Strikes Again’.
‘Taste Of Bitter Love’ and Knight‘s rendition of ‘Bourgie Bourgie’ came under the form of 2 different commercial releases. Although it’s interesting to note that Columbia had the good idea to release them together under the form of a limited promo 12″. This makin’ of it a quite sought after package on the second hand market.
Kinda hard to believe the first version of the band – simply called The Pips at the time – dates from the early 50’s…
The debut of Gladys Knight And The Pips didn’t happen to be like a simple ballad. Considered for some time as a second-string act by Motown where they got signed back in 1966, this didn’t get them from scoring their first hit the year after. This, with their version of ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’. The first of a series including ‘If I Were Your Woman’ and ‘Midnight Train To Georgia’ on Buddah Records. Not to mention
‘Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)’. A cut which South African producer DJ Micks turned into an insane House masterpiece back in 2009.
They then signed with Columbia by the end of the 70’s. ‘Taste Of Bitter Love’ and ‘Bourgie Bourgie’… But also ‘When You’re Far Away’ and ‘Save The Overtime For Me’ completing their already impressive list of firing gems in addition to ‘Love Overboard’.
Gladys Knight also delivered material on her own, most likely due to contractual reasons. This resulting in the release of extra gems such as ‘You Bring Out The Best In Me’. But also the ultra sought after ‘It’s A Better Than Good Time’ as remixed by Walter Gibbons. No to mention ‘License To Kill’ among others.