Leslie Smith - Heartache

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited December 2022 in Year-1982


ARTIST: Smith, Leslie
ALBUM: Heartache
LABEL: Elektra
SERIAL: E1-60108
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 2012, Vivid Sound (Japan), VSCD-3546


LINEUP: Leslie Smith - lead and backing vocals * Rick Chudacoff - bass, keyboards, synthesizer * Peter Bunetta - drums, percussion * Brian Ray, Dennis Herring, Ned Doheny - guitars * Bill Elliot - piano, keyboards, synthesizers * Joe Lala - percussion * Arno Lucas - percussion, backing vocals * Norton Buffalo - harmonica * Jerry Peterson, David Woodford, Gary Grant, Rick Baptists, Lee Thornburg - horns * Merry Clayton, Anna Pagan - co-lead vocals * Arnold McCuller, Kal David, Anita Sherman, Matthew Wilder - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 It's Something * 02 I'm On The Outside Looking In * 03 Before The Night Is Over * 04 Don't Shut The Door (On My Love) * 05 Dream On * 06 Nothin' You Can Do About It * 07 Love's A Heartache * 08 Do You Still Remember Me * 09 If You're In Love


Leslie Smith is better known in R&B circles, but has an early 1970's history with the Nebraskan band Crackin' (from Omaha originally), which also included notable members Peter Bunetta and Rick Chudacoff, who made their name working with Robbie Dupree.

Other members at the time included George Clinton and Lester Abrams.

Due to the success of Robbie Dupree's first two solo albums, Elektra Records offered Bunetta and Chudacoff a production deal to work on Smith's debut solo LP 'Heartache'.

The Songs

At first listen, this is a mixture of smooth R&B a la Al Jarreau with West Coast leanings. Toss in some Maurice White soundalikes as well.

Of immediate interest are covers of Airplay's clasic 'Nothin' You Can Do About It' plus Ned Doheny's 'Love's A Heartache'. Both excellent renditions.

Elsewhere, 'Dream On' is a Jeff Paris co-write, admittedly under his real name Geoffrey Leib, while the opener 'It's Something' was conjured up by David Foster and Brenda Russell.

The jazzy 'Do You Remember' sees Leslie team up with Anna Pagan on co-lead vocals, while the other highlight is the Sherwood Ball co-write 'Before The Night', featuring Merry Clayton on co-lead vocals.

In Summary

There are some nice songs here, very cruisy and a great line-up of studio guests. Smith released a Japan only CD in 1992 called 'Les Is More' which features ten tracks of which most are classic West Coast/AOR tracks.

Being on the Elektra/Warners Bros family, 'Heartache' received a 2012 Japanese reissue with all the bells and whistles (remastered, SHM-CD etc) courtesy of Vivid Sound. Well worth a peak I say, if you're into early 80's West Coast and R&B.

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