King’s fifth album is a marriage of old school R&B and synthesised soul.
Daryl Easlea 2012
Evelyn King’s story is one that bears repeating. In true rags-to-riches Hollywood style, she was discovered by producer Theodore Life singing as she cleaned Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia. He signed the 17-year-old there and then. King broke through in 1978 with her disco classic, Shame, and its parent record Smooth Talk. Two further albums followed in a similar vein, until former B.T. Express keyboard player Kashif Saleem took over production and writing duties on her 1981 album, I’m in Love.
Kashif, working with Morrie Brown and Paul Lawrence Jones III, created a clean, urban style for King. After embracing the video age with I’m in Love, King was very much the dance star of the early MTV era, and her zestful, emotion-charged performances proved her talent. Get Loose is her best album, with its eight snappy pop-dance numbers built around nagging, infectious keyboard riffs. Although RCA took her ‘Champagne’ nickname away for this grown-up album, it is still wholly appropriate as she positively bursts forth on every track, full of bubbles and froth.
Lead track Love Come Down became her biggest UK hit, reaching number seven in October 1982 as well as topping the US R&B chart. Aside from Ira Siegel’s guitar, Kashif played every instrument and King sang every vocal, double-tracking the chorus and backgrounds. It is simply life-affirming, upbeat and zestful; a great record from an era when there was strong competition on the dancefloor.
Betcha She Don’t Love You was a credible follow-up single, Back to Love is all silky-smooth and saxophone heavy, and album closer I’m Just Warmin’ Up is a textbook quiet storm ballad of the era.
Get Loose’s marriage of old-school R&B and synthesised soul was an influence on Madonna, another young, New York-based singer. Her debut album, released in July 1983, certainly owes a debt to King. The title track here sounds like a dry run for Lucky Star.
Get Loose proved that Evelyn King had longevity, and she would continue turning out sizeable dance hits throughout the 80s. The album also acted as a calling card for Kashif, and he became an in-vogue producer and writer for the rest of the decade, notably producing some of the most interesting music on Whitney Houston’s debut album.