Category Archives: Doc Powell

Anatomy Of THE Groove For The Brothers And Sisters Who Aren’t Here: “For The Sweetness Of Your Love” by Luther Vandross

Luther Vandross is one of the later journeyman soul/funk artists of the late 20’th century. This native New Yorker ended up writing for David Bowie,Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway and even a song for the original stage production for The Wiz. A year later he joined up with former members of his early group the Shades Of Jade to form the singing quintet called Luther,who had a couple of minor hits before he sang on Quincy Jones Sounds…and stuff like that album in 1978 before landing a gig with the band Change-singing lead on their 1980 song “The Glow Of Love”. And all of this occurred before he turned 30.

In 1981 he was finally signed up to Epic records and recorded his debut Never Too Much. That and his sophomore solo Forever,For Always, For Love album established his relationship bassist/composer Marcus Miller. This team began additionally writing songs for female soul singers Dionne Warwick and Aretha Franklin-especially when it came to helming Aretha’s two major comeback hits “Jump To It” and “Get It Right” between 1982 and 83. During that year the pair assembled to put together Vandross’s third solo album. This album was entitled Busy Body. And the song that stands out on the uptempo side for me is called “For The Sweetness Of Your Love”.

Drummer Yogi Horton starts off the groove playing a fast 4/4 beat with some ultra speedy hi hats before Marcus Miller’s metallic synth bass introduces the melody. Doc Powell’s clipped,bubbling rhythm guitar doubled up with Georg Wedenius’s. Marcus plays two lead synth  lines. One has only several notes and plays the slower aspect of the melody,while a slightly higher toned one plays the faster part. On Vandross’s vocal parts,the opening part of the song acts as the refrain along with Marcus’s lightening fast slap bass playing along. Meanwhile his two synth lines represent the chorus. The bridge features a stripped down,instrumental variation of the refrain featuring a percussive synth line before the song closes out with the repetition of the chorus.

Luther Vandross is generally not known for his faster songs-with most of his career arc position him as a balladeer of slower,heavily orchestrated songs. At the same time,Marcus Miller and Vandross’s talents as instrumental arrangers add a lot to his more danceable side. This song not only contains Luther’s Smokey Robinson style lyrical wordplay,but also integrates the brittle energy of early 80’s electro funk. Another thing about this song is how bass heavy it is. The liquid rhythm guitar has a low,heavy tone-as does the two prominent synth bass lines and Marcus’s slap bass itself. The fact this song is so percussively bottom heavy makes this some of the finest funk of Luther’s solo career.

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Filed under 1980's, dance funk, Doc Powell, drums, elecro funk, Georg Wedenius, Luther Vandross, Marcus Miller, rhythm guitar, slap bass, synth bass, synth funk, synthesizers, Yogi Horton