Last year, I joined Popdose‘s Jeff Giles and Robert Cass for a column called “‘Face Time,” in which we discussed essential (and some non-essential) cuts in the catalog of Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, one of the most prolific singer/songwriters of the ’80s and ’90s. ‘Face and his partner Antonio “L.A.” Reid were one of the big 3 production teams that ruled pop and R&B during that era. There was also Teddy Riley and his New Jack Swing camp, and perhaps most notably, Minneapolis’s James “Jimmy Jam” Harris III and Terry Lewis. The former members of Prince offshoot band The Time turned out to be legends in their own right, composing and producing hits for a who’s-who of the music industry and proving to be as (if not more) influential than their purple-clad benefactor.
And let’s give a rousing round of applause to our cohort Robert Cass, who has resurfaced!
MJ: I’m going with a gimme.
Cherrelle & Alexander O’ Neal “Saturday Love” (from Cherrelle’s High Priority, 1985)
(written/produced by James Harris III and Terry Lewis) | Buy on Amazon
Robert Cass: I don’t remember hearing Cherrelle and O’Neal’s duet when it was originally released, but it’s retroactively become my favorite song of the spring of ’86. For all I know, Jam and Lewis wrote it in the dead of winter, but the production they gave “Saturday Love” is in full bloom.
Jeff Giles: Oh, total agreeance, Brother Robert. This is absolutely one of the better tracks we’ve listened to in this series, and Alexander is smooth as all get-out. I have to note, however, that the annoying vocal tag at the end of the chorus makes me want to punch.
RC: You mean the part where Cherrelle sings the days of the week? But that part reminds me of SCTV’s soap-opera parody, “The Days of the Week,” and that makes me feel good inside.
Dr. Z: While Cherrelle’s rattling off the days of the week reminds Robert of SCTV, I instinctively hear it through a vocoder.
Also, so much soft focus!
JG: You know, I think my eighth grade girlfriend may have worn that dress to our graduation dance.
Dr. Z: A perfect Saturday begins with “A Rollerskating Jam Called ‘Saturdays'” and ends with this funky smooth-lovin’ jam.
This is another jam that I’m surprised isn’t better remembered in the mainstream, having peaked at #26 pop and nearly topped the R&B charts.
MJ: Not to sound like a broken record, but I think a lot of the perception of “Saturday Love”‘s hit status can be broken down via maybe an urban vs. suburban/rural comparison?
RC: I like everything I’ve heard from Toro y Moi so far. As a friend of mine recently said, “Everything new sounds like the ’80s anyway.”
MJ: I saw Cherrelle perform this live about 10 years ago…she opened for New Edition!
RC: So you saw the Diddy-produced edition of New Edition?
MJ: Nope, before that.
MJ: Nope, no Bobby. And no new material.