Dec 102017
 

from GOING FOR THE GLOW
Written by David Foster & Brenda Russell

“It’s Something” was a soul/pop composition co-written by David Foster with singer/songwriter Brenda Russell around 1980. This breezy mid-tempo was one of the most successful songs of Foster’s early repertoire. Through the years, “It’s Something” has been sung by Ms. Russell, r&b singer Leslie Smith and the fabulous Lalah Hathaway who recorded it twice and even received a 2014 Grammy for her sublime, soul/jazz rendition on Snarky Puppy’s Family Dinner – Volume 1cd. The first version of “It’s Something” belongs to the underrated, r&b singer Donna Washington who cut the tune in 1981 for her Going For The Glow album.

Ms. Washington released three records between 1980 and 1982, but never made it big on the charts. The Los Angeles-born vocalist had a great voice with a two-octave mezzo soprano range that should have put her in the same league as other r&b stars including Angela Bofill and the late Natalie Cole (February 6, 1950 to December 31, 2015). Ms. Washington’s second album was Going For The Glow . It was released on Capitol Records and produced by Chuck Jackson of Aretha Franklin, Phyllis Hyman and Natalie Cole fame. Going For The Glow was a solid effort of the most elegant funky/soul music played by some of the hottest session aces of that era. Among the musicians were Nathan East on bass, James Gadson on drums, Paul Jackson. Jr. on guitar and Patrice Rushen on keyboards. The tracklist included material co-written by the crème de la crème of pop/soul tunesmiths including the late Luther Vandross (April 20, 1951 to July 1, 2005), David Lasley, Allee Willis and Michael Wycoff. Other than “It’s Something,” Ms. Russell wrote the classy title-track while Vandross and Lasley co-wrote the energetic funky anthem, “’Scuse Me While I Fall In Love.” Going For The Glow also presented a nice cover of Pablo Cruise’s “I Want You Tonight” and a great rendition of a Willis/Lasley ballad recorded by Patti Labelle a couple of years earlier titled “I See Home.”

Ms. Washington’s version of “It’s Something” was one of the highlights on the Going For The Glowalbum. The crystal-clear vocal performance and top-notch instrumental track fit the song’s jazzy atmosphere and brilliant musical progression perfectly. Great additions were the brilliant string and horn arrangements by Johnny Pate and the smooth backing vocals. Jackson’s production was as good as it gets when it comes to this kind of refined soul music with quality pop overtones. Listening to “It’s Something” and the whole parent album still make us wonder why it didn’t become a major hit. This is a good chance to rediscover and appreciate Ms. Washington’s tasteful vocals singing one of Foster’s most soulful compositions. If interested, there are past reviews of both Ms. Hathaway’s and Ms. Russell’s versions in the archives.


Listen

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Lead & Backing Vocals: Donna Washington
Bass: Ready-Freddie Washington & Nathan East
Drums: James Gadson & Leon (Ndugu) Chancler
Guitar: Paul Jackson, Jr., E.J. Mitchell & Michael McGloiry
Keyboards: John Barnes, Nick Johnson, Patrice Rushen & Tony Coleman
Percussion: Chuck Jackson, Mike Boddicker & Paulinho Da Costa
Synthesizer: Mike Boddicker & Tony Coleman
Backing Vocals: Chuck Jackson, Julia Waters Tillman, Maxine Waters Willard, Nick Johnson, Oren Waters, Rodney-Wayne & Tony Coleman

Arranged by Chuck Jackson & Tony Coleman
Strings & Horns arranged by Johnny Pate
Produced by Chuck Jackson


Lyrics

Oo Oo Oo, it’s something
You and I have something
How I long to be around when
(When you can see that)
You and I have something

In Common, oh, oh it’s something
(You better believe it)
And I’m sure of one thing
How I Long to be around when
(When you can see that)
You and I have something

In common, it’s been a revelation yeah
You’ve been an inspiration to me
And there’s not one question no
Where my heart will run to

Oo Oo Oo, it’s something
(You better believe it)
You and I have something
I don’t want to lose this fun thing
(I hope you can see that)
Cause you and I have something

In Common
I can’t believe we’ve been so blind
Looks like we’ve wasted so much time
There’s not a note that rings untrue
Said when I’m with you

Ooh-wee-ooh-wee-ooh
Wee-ooh-wee-ooh
Oh, you and I have something
In Common uh uh
It’s something
Whoa, you and I got something
We got something, babe
In Common
It’s something!