Tue. Sep. 28, 2021

Unlimited Touch – I Hear Music In The Streets

Classics: Unlimited Touch – I Hear Music In The Streets (Prelude Records)

There’s an obvious parental link (although in a slower vein) with Faith Evans‘s 1999 ‘All Night Long’ gem. Therefore, how could it ever be different with producer Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs borrowing both its bassline and drum breakdown from Unlimited Touch‘s ‘I Hear Music In The Streets’!

More than 35 years have gone since its release and it obviously still rocks. With thanks to its stellar vocals. But also to its arrangements and production work courtesy of Crown Heights Affair‘s Raymond Reid, William ‘Bubba’ Anderson and Bert DeCoteaux. Not to mention its firing bassline by the likes of Sandy Anderson (also remembered for his contribution to Odyssey‘s ‘Inside Out’). And, last but not least, François K responsible for the mixing work.

Unsurprisingly, the late Frankie Crocker would turn it into a WBLS classic back at the time.

What’s the value of your vinyl record?

– Producers Raymond Reid and William Anderson of the NYC Crown Heights Affair fame instigated Unlimited Touch in the early 80’s. For this to happen they recruited Sandy Anderson, Tony Clinton, Phil Hamilton, Stephanie James and Lenny Underwood around lead singer Audrey Wheeler.
Signed to Prelude Records, Unlimited Touch released their eponymous debut-album back in 1981. It spanned the memorable ‘I Hear Music In The Streets’. But also ‘Searching To Find The One’. A cut which Bon-Rock & The Rhythm Rebellion sampled soon after on ‘Searching Rap’.

They disbanded by the end of that year though, due to a major management/label and group dispute. But would reform with a new line-up of just 3 of the original members (Wheeler, Anderson and James). Unlimited Touch dropped their second and final album – ‘Yes I’m Ready’ – in 1983. And in the meantime a couple of extra singles such as its title track and ‘No One Can Love Me (Quite The Way You Do)’. Meanwhile a non-album single, ‘Reach Out (Everlasting Lover)’ would see the light the year after…

Raymond Reid and William Anderson stood among the most prolific producers in the late 70’s/early 80’s. Beginning with their activities as members of Crown Heights Affair. With Reid playing trombone and Anderson playing guitar. One can find traces of them on gems such as France Joli‘s ‘Gonna Get Over You’. But also Trilark‘s heavily sought after ‘Love Never Looked Better’ to name but a very few.

The twosome also put together Unlimited Touch. Crafting gems such as ‘I Hear Music In The Streets’ and ‘Searching To Find The One’ for them. And they did the same regarding Empress. Recruiting members of Crown Heights Affair such as bassist Arnold ‘Muki’ Wilson among others. But also top notched musicians such as Samy Figueroa and Fred Zarr around singer Gail Smith.

Empress released their eponymous album back in 1982. Most likely one of the best packages Prelude ever released, it would be their one and only though. As for Gail Smith would soon after disappear from the radar. It features the memorable ‘Dyin’ To Be Dancing’, their biggest classic with mixing work courtesy of François Kevorkian. But also ‘Take A Risk’. Meanwhile both ‘Take Me Along’ and ‘Control’ never saw the light as singles, despite their undeniable appeal.

Diagnosed with cancer, Raymond Reid sadly passed from the disease on May, 21, 2013, aged 60.

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