YEAR RELEASED: 1971
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: Morning Much Better
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: They cover You’ve Got a Friend and Wild Horses
LINEUP: Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx, Sarah Dash, session soul and funk players
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A change in name (well, kinda) and definite change in direction, in so much it’s really a new entity. Goodbye Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles, hello Labelle. Get funky!
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: LaBelle and her group knocked around the lower reaches of the soul charts for almost a decade, with just three Top 40 hits and six charting R&B hits. With girl groups becoming a commercial non-starter, and one member flying the coop to the Supremes, Labelle, Hendryx and Dash took some advice, ditched the dresses and wigs, and got funky.
It wasn’t a commercial success at first, as this record didn’t sell many copies upon release. They got noticed, though, as they opened for the Who and collaborated with Laura Nyro. Their interpretation skills were top notch (for this album almost all of the tracks were covers. That would change.)
This is really an enjoyable record. It’s not earth-shattering but it’s great singing and funky interpretations of several songs. You really could do a lot worse.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: LaBelle herself was not in favor of the change of direction and image, but their old look wasn’t selling and the audience was dwindling.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: A-: Patti, Nona, and Sara make a great album and pull off a total change in direction and motif without a hitch.