Angela Bofill - I Try: The Anthology 1978-1993

Angela Bofill
angelabofill-itry.jpg
Click on CD cover
to listen or purchase

Angela Bofill – I Try: The Anthology 1978-1993

Angela Bofill was a distinctive voice at a period when R&B music was filled with unique voices, and if being distinct wasn’t always championed, it also was not universally discouraged. Bofill came on the scene in 1978 with her self-titled debut. That was around the time that R&B stations around the nation began experimenting with a format that took its name from the title of a Smokey Robinson cut – the Quiet Storm.

Angela Bofill – I Try: The Anthology 1978-1993

Angela Bofill was a distinctive voice at a period when R&B music was filled with unique voices, and if being distinct wasn’t always championed, it also was not universally discouraged. Bofill came on the scene in 1978 with her self-titled debut. That was around the time that R&B stations around the nation began experimenting with a format that took its name from the title of a Smokey Robinson cut – the Quiet Storm.

Bofill’s first big radio hit was “Under the Moon and Over the Sky,” a song that possessed mystical, sensual and erotic sensibilities that late night programmers wanted for a segment meant to appeal to adults who were looking to create a certain ambiance after putting the kiddies to sleep. That song launched the career of one of R&B’s most beloved and versatile vocalists. Her singing career lasted for more than three decades before illness brought it to an end. I Try: The Anthology 1978-1993 captures the most fruitful part of that career. Bofill had more than her share hits, and those tunes are all here, which means that I Try, in two discs, covers a bit more than other Bofill anthologies released in 1999 and 2004.

What makes this anthology one that might pique the interest of Bofill fans is the presence album cuts that didn’t become hits but are loved by Bofill fans, as well as songs that were recorded during the singer’s creative peak, but not released until the first decade of the 21st Century. “Love and Marriage” is a mid-tempo cut that draws on Bofill’s vocals to express the lyrical optimism about two people from different lands and countries coming together to begin a family. “All the Reasons Why,” is smooth funk ballad that finds Bofill musically outlining the qualities and that drew her into a relationship and keep her there. Expansion Records included both tunes on a 2007 compilation record titled Dedicated to Soul.

“Love Light,” the quintessential Bofill ballad in that it layers her vocals around an arrangement fusing jazz, R&B and Latin tinges, and the funky “Rhythm of Your Mind,” a funk/Latin fusion number, were both recorded in 1979 and included as bonus tracks on a 2002 reissue of Something About You, her 1981 Arista Records debut.

Writer A. Scott Galloway’s liner notes are another selling point because they serve as a succinct yet detail-filled history of the years in which these songs were written and recorded. Those notes are filled with details about recording sessions from a variety of artists and from Bofill herself. Many of the people mentioned or quoted in those notes have remained by Bofill’s side after the 2006 stroke that left her unable to sing. Narada Michael Walden hosted a benefit concert in San Francisco that eventually evolved into the “Angela Bofill Experience” in which the singer – with musical help from her many friends – tells the story of her life. And while she is currently unable to sing, the quality of the music found on I Try ensures that Angela Tomasa Bofill will always be a major part of our soul music soundtrack. Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 

Leave a comment!