Slave’s fourth album opened a new phase in the Ohio funk band’s storied history. It was their first to feature the vocals of percussionist Steve Arrington, whose inimitable singing brought a distinctive flavor to the hit title song. The other tracks alternate between the more conventional vocals of Starleana Young and Curt Jones, who would go on to form Aurra. “Are You Ready for Love,” “Funky Lady (Foxy Lady),” “Roots” and “Shine” are superlative fusions of smooth funk and deep, throbbing groove. The music is the result of trumpeter Steve Washington’s expert arrangements, as well as the formidable rhythm section of bassist Mark Antone Adams and drummer Arrington. But it was Arrington’s stirring vocals that helped to separate Slave from dozens of other likeminded groups. His singing is exceptionally sexy and vulnerable, but tinged with sinister intent. The fact that his style is ever so slightly off-key is a big part of what makes “Just a Touch of Love” so intoxicating. The off-kilter sensation extends into the finale, “Warning,” which revels in the band’s love of eccentricity.
Just a Touch of Love
Are You Ready for Love
Funky Lady (Foxy Lady)
8 Songs, 37 Minutes
℗ 1979 Cotillion Records, a label of Atlantic Recording Corp. Marketed by Rhino Entertainment Company, a Warner Music Group Company.