Leon Ware – Musical Massage + (Expanded & Remastered)

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Leon Ware’s classic Motown offering from 1976 came about as the result of another classic recording done by Marvin Gaye. Ware had written the single “I Want You” for a demo recording to score T-Boy Ross a recording contract with Motown. Berry Gordy heard it and told Ware he had to have the song for Marvin Gaye’s next single. He took it to Gaye, who also loved it. Later, as Ware finished the tracks and orchestrations for his own album, he was playing it back for friends at Gaye’s home when Marvin came out of a bedroom to inquire about what it was. He asked for — and received — all the tracks from Ware for the legendary I Want You album. This left Ware no choice but to compose an entirely new set of songs for his own record; the result is Musical Massage. (It should be noted that, according to Ware, Gordy, Gaye, and others felt he should also give this album away as a follow-up to I Want You, but Ware refused.) Musical Massage is the perfect mix of soul, light funk, jazz, and what was about to become the rhythmic foundation for disco. Picture the Motown song orchestrations with arrangements by Barry White for the Salsoul Orchestra and you get a bit of the picture. The disc opens with two smooth soul wonders in “Learning How to Love You” and “Instant Love.” Strings dominate the melodic arrangement and Ware croons directly to them as Ray Parker, Jr. fills the lines with a silky but chunky guitar. Ware’s mellifluous tenor is deep in the swell of strings and guitars as the rest of the band provides a shimmering backbeat for his soul crooning. On a re-recording of the track “Body Heat” — which Ware had recorded as a duet with Minnie Riperton for Quincy Jones’ album of the same name a year earlier — Parker and bassist Chuck Rainey set a groove for Bongo Brown, Gary Coleman, and Bobbye Hall’s percussion orgy. Ware’s vocals, augmented by a three-piece female choir, cover the tune with dripping, seductive, sexual energy. Bobby Womack guests on the title track and “Holiday,” while Gaye also lends a hand on the latter. Both tracks are spurious soul-funk workouts with fat, smooth grooves underlying Ware’s gorgeous voice that melts the heart strings like butter, sounding like the whispering of satin sheets. Produced by Ware with Hal Davis and engineer Cal Harris, the disc has the same sweet, swaying feel as Gaye’s I Want You but is a bit tougher, a little funkier in the breaks. The string arrangements by Dave Blumbery and Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson are among the best the Motown studios issued to date. Ultimately, Musical Massage is a little-known classic from the supposedly twilight years of Motown. This record reveals Ware as a talented but undercelebrated visionary; he envisioned the evolution of soul and went about to bring it to fruition. Musical Massage is a watermark not only for Ware, but for Motown as well.

I’m posting 2 different version beacause the Expanded edition of the original Musical Massage album contains an additional 5 bonus tracks from the Marvin Gaye ‘I Want You’ sessions and comprehensive liner notes but looses 2 tracks from the original release.

little preview:

Tracklist – Original Release

01. Learning How To Love You
02. Instant Love with Minnie Riperton
03. Body Heat
04. Share Your Love
05. Holiday with Bobby Womack, Marvin Gaye
06. Phantom Lover
07. Journey Into You
08. Musical Massage with Bobby Womack
09. Comfort (AKA Come Live With Me, Angel) with Minnie Riperton
10. Long Time No See
11. With You
12. I Wanna Be Where You Are
13. French Waltz
14. Best Of Both Worlds
15. Turn Out The Light

Tracklist – Expanded & Remastered

01. Learning How To Love You
02. Instant Love with Minnie Riperton
03. Body Heat
04. Share Your Love
05. Holiday with Bobby Womack, Marvin Gaye
06. Phantom Lover
07. Journey Into You
08. Musical Massage with Bobby Womack
09. French Waltz
10. Turn Out The Light
11. I Wanna Be Where You Are
12. Comfort (AKA Come Live With Me, Angel) with Minnie Riperton
13. Long Time No See
14. Don’t You Wanna Come
15. You Are The Way You Are

Original Release:
link removed RAPIDSHARE
link removed MEDIAFIRE

Expanded & Remastered:
link removed RAPIDSHARE
link removed MEDIAFIRE

6 Responses to “Leon Ware – Musical Massage + (Expanded & Remastered)”

  1. BHM says:

    So much thanks for this!! Wasn’t aware of the circumstances surrounding this album!!!

  2. dOk says:

    the links are working o_O

  3. Azmiku says:

    Yes, Musical Massage is the best way to get relaxation, that’s very nice

  4. Bill says:

    Got the original vinyl. Looking forward to the extended versions. Thanks!

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