Sylvia Striplin – 1981 – Give Me Your Love
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Sylvia’s debut gem comes to us via Roy Ayers‘ Uno Melodic label which he set up in the early eighties to showcase new talent that fitted his jazz-funk & boogie sensibilities. This LP showcases a real boogie/rare-groove masterclass from Sylvia Striplin. There are many classic tracks here with “Give Me Your Love” and “You Can’t Turn Me Away” being the best known.Sylvia’s voice is not unlike a young Minnie Ripperton at times although perhaps not quite as polished. As expected from a Roy Ayers funded label there is a high emphasis on tight playing from the band. Rare-groove gold that certainly deserves a wider audience.
A1 Look Towards The Sky (4:31)
A2 Toy Box (4:13)
A3 You Can’t Turn Me Away (5:28)
A4 All Alone (5:09)
B1 Give Me Your Love (6:17)
B2 Will We Ever Pass This Way Again (4:34)
B3 Searchin (6:26)
B4 You Said (4:53)
Review by MsMerising
Born one of 5 children, not much is known of Sylvia’s early life. We do know she was first heard singing background on Art Webb’s 1977 album ‘Mr. Flute’. Not long after she was recruited to sing for Aquarian Dream’s second album ‘Fantasy’ (1978). Though Aquarian Dream were associated with Norman Connor’s who was enjoying success in the R&B charts at the time, their highest charting position was with ‘Fantasy’ which peaked on the Jazz Charts (#49). Sylvia continued to stay with the group through there early 80’s break-up.
Shortly after her debut performance she became associated with Roy Ayers and his Uno Melodic label. Sylvia was recruited to sing on Roy’s solo album ‘Love Fantasy’ (1980) as well as was a member of the short-lived group the Eighties Ladies, a quintet of female vocalists guided by Roy. Though there debut album ‘Ladies Of The 80’s’ was the most widely distributed project from the Uno Melodic catalogue, it did not sell too well. Despite this several songs, notably “Turned On To You” & “I Knew That Love” became moderate club hits.
During this time Sylvia cut one solo single with Uno Melodic (“Give Me Your Love”/”You Can’t Turn Me Away”). Roughly one year later her sole album for the label, ‘Give Me Your Love’ was released. The single “Give Me Your Love” enjoyed renewed interest and went as high as #23 on the Club Play Charts. Fuelled by a boogie beat with Sylvia’s slinky vocals sailing smooth above a bubbling bass, it is a perfect pop dance moment climaxing with her smooth, girlish yowls peppering the extended outro.
The flip side “You Can’t Turn Me Away” has become infamous as the sample for Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s hit “Get Money”. The song’s clavinet propelled groove has deservedly become a certified classic in the Jazzy Soul & Rare Groove music scenes worldwide.
It is a testament to Sylvia’s musical talent of how prominent her skills are utilized for ‘Give Me Your Love’. Sylvia is the sole-writer of the album’s inspirational opener “Look To The Sky”, as well as co-writer of “You Can’t Turn Me Away” and “You Said”. Vocals, background vocals, hand-claps, arrangements – Sylvia is imbedded in every fiber of the recording and deserves as much credit as Roy Ayers and James Bedford for the album’s perfect pop-boogie flavor. Her unique take on Roy’s own time-honored “Searching” will garner admiration how one man’s classic can be construed to become another’s potential dance classic. “Will We Ever Pass This Way Again” is so beautifully forlorn in its sentiment, and Sylvia’s unique use of her vocal range could easily make the most knowledgeable music historian mistake it for a lost B-side from Prince’s 70’s catalogue. And I still consider it a crime that Sylvia’s management never initiated for her to sing “Toy Box” on Sesame Street, a song my 4-year old son begs to hear and goes bananas for!
In 1982, Sylvia released the single “Keep On Pushing” on Rissa Chrissa Records. Written and produced by Sylvia, it was another moment of boogie bliss. Sadly, this was her last strong release. In 1988 the Vista Sounds label released the single “Could It Be You” which lacked the distinctive writing and production flavor Sylvia Striplin is beloved for. Regardless, Sylvia has been described as a “stepping stone between the sound of disco and the more mainstream early 80’s R&B to come” (1) and her debut album and singles are still a prized commodity amongst collectors, fetching in the hundreds for an original pressing.
Did you know?
* Sylvia Striplin’s work has been sampled numerous times? Assorted Phlavors, Backstreet Boys, Naughty By Nature, the Madd Rapper and Armand Van Heldon have all sampled tracks from her debut album ‘Give Me Your Love’.
* A Tribe Called Quest utilized a sample from the Eighties Ladies “Turned On To You” for Phife-Dawg’s shining moment, “Butter”?
– MsMerising is an addict for fierce, funkin’ females who can sang. A relentless digger & researcher of obscure women artists in rare-groove/funk music she is currently in the embryonic stages of writing a book on the subject, while simultaneously working on her Bachelor of Arts. Feel free to join her social network for music addicts at http://dustyfingers.ning.com
I’d like to thank MsMerising for another excellent contribution. Please show some love and respect.