Aug 192018
 

from MISS GLADYS KNIGHT
Written by Bruce Roberts & Carole Bayer Sager

Gladys Knight is a treasure and legend of soul music as a solo performer and as the main attraction of Gladys Knight & The Pips. This amazing singer left a unique print on the history of black music. Ms. Knight is a seven-time Grammy winner and, together with The Pips, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. Among the many Gladys Knight & The Pips signature hits are “Every Bit Of My Heart,” “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” “If I Were Your Woman,” “Midnight Train To Georgia,” “Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me” and “Landlord.”

Between 1961 and 1988, Gladys Knight & The Pips amassed more than fifty entries on the US R&B Singles chart with ten #1 hits. Around the end of the seventies, Gladys Knight & The Pips were in the middle of some legal turmoil, so Ms. Knight reluctantly went into the studio on her own and Miss Gladys Knight saw the light of day in 1978. Miss Gladys Knight was a good album, but placed more emphasis on the adult contemporary pop sounds of Barbra Streisand than Ms. Knight’s classic soul territory. Producer Gary Klein was in charge of the bulk of the album. In those days, Klein was a top name in the traditional pop genre with hit productions for Streisand, Dolly Parton, Paul Anka, the late Dusty Springfield (1939-1999) and Glen Campbell (1936-2017).

David Foster’s keyboard playing was one of the fixtures on many of those recordings and, unavoidably, the young Canadian wizard also appeared on Miss Gladys Knight. On that album, Foster shared the piano and keyboards duties with the late, great Joe Sample (1939-2014), the co-founder of famed jazz/fusion group, The Crusaders. The Hitman’s playing can be appreciated on many tracks of Miss Gladys Knight, but it was especially up-front on the beautiful ballad and the Song of the Week, “I’m Coming Home Again.”

With his skilled ear, Gary Klein often recorded songs co-written by Bruce Roberts and Carole Bayer Sager. That was the case with “I’m Coming Home Again.” This composition was originally recorded by both Mr. Roberts on his self-titled 1977 debut album and by Ms. Bayer Sager on her 1978 …Too album. Ms. Knight’s version of the song was eventually picked as the first single off her album and became a minor hit on the R&B charts at #54. The Atlanta-born superstar really shines here with a superb vocal performance. The unique, velvety strength of her contralto sounds were perfectly at ease with this kind of soaring melody and results in total listening pleasure. “I’m Coming Home Again” features the melodic power of the best Roberts/Bayer Sager collaborations; the usual ear-candy refrain and a dramatic climax. The grand arrangement was crafted by guitarist Dean Parks with lush strings and horns adding intensity to the stellar instrumental performances by Foster and his fellow session aces. “I’m Coming Home Again” was eventually covered by Ms. Springfield and, recently, Barry Manilow.

Sadly, Miss Gladys Knight quickly disappeared from the charts. Those who enjoy the traditional pop and soul stuff of the seventies should resurrect this album. Miss Gladys Knight presented several quality moments; great songs beautifully sung and played.


Listen

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.



Lead Vocals: Gladys Knight
Keyboards: David Foster & Joe Sample
Bass: David Hungate
Drums: Ed Greene
Guitar: Dean Parks
Percussion: Victor Feldman
Backing Vocals: The Jim Gilstrap Singers
Rhythm Arranged by Dean Parks
Strings & Horns Arranged by Dave Blumberg
Produced by Gary Klein


Lyrics

I’m not as crazy as I used to be
Some of my devils upped and left me free
To find a quiet space
I’m not as out of place
I’m not as lonely as I was before
I don’t go in
Unless there’s an open door to leave by
I’m starting to believe
My own existence has a right to be

Chorus:
And I’m coming home again

It’s been too long a time
Getting back what’s mine
And I can’t remember why I went away
But it’s looking now like maybe I can stay

The poets cried for dreams they never saw
The only certainty is nothing’s sure
And most things stay the same
Or go back where they came

And though my answers still are undefined
By taking chances
I can start to find some reasons
Something to believe in
I can make it through, I can make it through

Repeat Chorus