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Branigan, Laura - 1984 Self Control

ARTIST: Branigan, Laura
ALBUM: Self Control
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 7567-80147-2
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: Reissue List..


LINEUP: Laura Branigan - lead vocals * Dann Huff, Michael Landau, Paul Jackson, Jr. - guitar * Larry Williams - saxophone * Robbie Buchanan - piano, synthesizer * Harold Faltermeyer - synthesizer) * John 'J.R.' Robinson, Carlos Vega - drums * Nathan East - bass * Beth Andersen, Jon Joyce, Joe Pizzulo, Richard Page, Steve George, Tom Kelly, Tommy Funderburk, Bill Champlin, Joe Chemay, Jim Haas - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Lucky One * 02 Self Control * 03 Ti Amo * 04 Heart * 05 Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow * 06 Satisfaction * 07 Silent Partners * 08 Breaking Out * 09 Take Me * 10 With Every Beat Of My Heart


Probably best known to GDM readers as the voice behind the Disco hit 'Gloria', Laura Branigan had more to her musical canon that that. 'Self Control' was arguably her biggest album spawning two hit singles, the title track and 'The Lucky One'. She had a background in the theatre and film but with limited success in both areas and she cut her musical teeth as a backing singer to Leonard Cohen, before getting a deal with Ahmet Ertegun's Atlantic stable. Throughout her career she released seven albums but never repeated the success of this album. Tragedy blighted her life towards the end, with Laura initially giving up music to care for her ailing husband. After his death she did return to music but this was cut cruelly short when Laura herself passed away suddenly in 2004 of an undiagnosed brain aneurysm at just 52.

The Songs
Laura's music has always been a guilty pleasure of mine, boasting a really powerful voice and the looks to go with it too, it seemed that success was a given, but it was only fleeting and the ubiquitous 'Gloria' probably becoming a bit of a millstone for her. 'Self Control' bears all the hallmarks of Pop/AOR lite albums of the 80's with its synthesized drums and programmed keyboards. But what elevates this album from the rest around at the time is the sheer qualities of both her voice and also that the songs are so damn good. With some added guitar crunch from the likes of Dan Huff and Michael Landau, and a veritable who's who of West Coast/AOR session men lending a hand in all departments this album is a delight. The singles 'The Lucky One' and 'Self Control' kick off the album and coupled with suitably creepy videos both went on to be big hits.' Ti Amo' is the album's big ballad giving Laura a chance to really show off her prowess as a performer, and a graceful cover of the old chestnut `Will you still love me tomorrow' is lovely. The tracks 'Silent Partners' and 'Breaking Out' are both early sightings of Dianne Warren as a songwriter and are, particularly in the case of 'Breaking Out' a great example of synth driven dance/rock which was prevalent back then. Production wise it's very much of its time but don't let that detract from the albums overall quality.

In Summary
Although never quite reaching the heights of 'Self Control', Laura continued to issue quality albums but with diminishing returns which was a shame really as all too often Laura Branigan tends to get overlooked when talking about female vocalists, in reality she could sing most of them under the table, with a range that was so impressive and I always thought that she had the chops to produce a hard rock album but sadly this never came to fruition and in later years she took to the Vegas circuit. If you are only familiar with her name through 'Gloria' I suggest you check out this album and you will find a truly stunning female voice and a great 80's AOR lite album to boot. [word count 517]

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#1 | gdazegod on March 20 2016 22:56:19
Sorely missed. R.I.P Laura.
#2 | super80boy on July 10 2016 01:17:44
Laura has some stellar pipes on this album. The title song still resonates with me - it's a pop rock gem. Self Control is the only album of hers that I have in my collection, really for all the reasons mentioned in the above review. Besides the two big lead off singles, the deeper cuts are no slouch, like the emotionally charged 'Heart', 'Breaking Out' and the driving dance beats of 'Satisfaction'.
#3 | Explorer on July 10 2016 20:15:29
Laura gets overlooked when it comes to female vocalists, unfairly for me.Yes, some of her material borders on the MOR, but there's more than enough out there to satisfy your average AOR fan.Also, there is a download knocking about of the album (unreleased) called `Silver Dreams` she recorded before her official debut came out.

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