My Albums of the Week #5: Donna Summer, Grover Washington Jr. & More

I would consider myself an “albums guy” and my taste in music is very varied. In this new feature, I list the albums that I listened to most intensely during the week. The list will include albums old and new, and the number of albums listened to every week will most likely vary on a week-to-week basis.

Grover Washington Jr., Winelight (Elektra, 1980)

TRACKLIST (Favorite tracks underlined): 1 – Winelight / 2 – Let It Flow (For “Dr. J”) / 3 – In the Name of Love / 4 – Take Me There / 5 – Just the Two of Us / 6 – Make Me a Memory (Sad Samba)

One of the most influential records of its time and the birth of smooth jazz, which honestly doesn’t deserve the bad rep it gets. After its release, countless other artists tried to get the same laid back grooves that Washington lays down, as well as the tone of his saxophones. Most failed. Bonus points for a standout performance by Marcus Miller on bass. Hear him slap that bass on “Let It Flow.”

Donna Summer, I Remember Yesterday (Casablanca, 1977)

TRACKLIST (Favorite tracks underlined): 1 – I Remember Yesterday / 2 – Love’s Unkind / 3 – Back in Love Again / 4 – I Remember Yesterday (Reprise) / 5 – Black Lady / 6 – Take Me / 7 – Can’t We Just Sit Down (And Talk It Over) / 8 – I Feel Love

A concept album of sorts, which aims to fuses disco with influences of earlier popular musics. Scattered moments of sheen. However, at the end of the day, this Donna Summer album really only has two standout songs — the title track, repeated twice, and “I Feel Love,” respectively strategically placed at the opening and closing of the record.

Dixie Dregs, Dregs of the Earth (Arista, 1980)

TRACKLIST (Favorite tracks underlined): 1 – Road Expense / 2 – Pride o’ the Farm / 3 – Twiggs Approved / 4 – Hereafter / 5 – The Great Spectacular / 6 – Broad Street Strut / 7 – I’m Freaking Out / 8 – Old World

I wasn’t familiar with the Dixie Dregs before listening to this. They’re quite a solid instrumental band. I suppose you’d call them rock fusion. Some songs feel a bit too constricted within their structure. A bit too clean for my taste. But I appreciate the ventures into the folk, country and even jazz territory.