CD Soul/R&B Review

The Waters’ Watercolors: they are family

Title: Watercolors

Label: BBR

Relatively unusual but not necessarily in the disco circuit, The Waters were a family group consisting of Luther (singer-songwriter), Maxine (a regular backing vocalist for Phil Spector), Julia (who backed The Ronettes) and Oren (both Luther and Oren sang backing on The Righteous Brothers’ You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling while Oren was a top session vocalist at Motown).

A product of family talents (mother, Lorena, was a working vocalist) The Waters have appeared on more records than you might think. How about releases from the likes of Lionel Richie, Rod Stewart and Whitney Houston? No? How about Bruce Springsteen then? Adele, maybe? When they are not appearing on best selling records (i.e. Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Saturday Night Fever and Carol King’s Tapestry) from other artists they still back live shows via the likes of Patti LaBelle, Barry Manilow and Paul Simon.

A talented group, then, while this album was released back in 1980 and featured two singles: Dance With Me and Heart Lead The Way.

The best thing about this album is the gorgeous four-part harmony that strongly resembles Earth, Wind & Fire in its structure (as does the instrumental backing).

According to Oren, “Everybody in the family has about a five octave range. That gives us the ability to swap parts. We all have the same genetic make-up so when I sing alto I sound just like Maxine. If Maxine sings low she sounds just like Oren.” Maxine added, “When all I have to do is harmonise and sing, alto, I’m sailing!”

Vocally rich and sumptuous in its arrangements, Watercolors ranges from typical high-tempo disco rhythms to chocolate thick ballads. Professional in its conception, it lacks the killer hooks and imaginative arrangements to set it apart but, nevertheless, its highly enjoyable, foot tappin’ fare that rewards repeated play.

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