Today’s POP RESCUE from a fate unknown, is the third and final album from sibling act Juicy in 1987, titled Spread The Love. Is this album like a beautiful smoothie, or is a bit sour? Read on…
This eight track self-written LP comes in the most delightfully 1980s styled artwork. Whilst brother and sister Katreese and Jerry Barnes sit in their finery on the cover, the reverse of the sleeve is a pink and grey 80s-pop-poses-by-numbers guide: Man sitting with woman at shoulder; Back to back; and then man doing something silly with woman laughing.
Anyway, enough about the sleeve, let’s get stuck in..
The album opens with All Work, No Play, which quickly blasts in a great 80s beat as Juicy remind you to smile, and that with ‘all work and no play, you shouldn’t be living your life that way’. There’s some great vocal harmonies here between the duo.
Next up is Show And Tell musically reminds me of something that you’d find on a Five Star album (who were in the midst of their career success by the time of this album) or on Bobby Brown‘s debut. This is another strong track, and should probably have been a single.
Third track, After Loving You, was released as the only single from this album. It reached #84 in the UK chart. It’s a perfectly strong song. Juicy’s writing ability bears no dents here.
Make You Mine is the closing track for side one of this album. Again, we have another strong track. Undeniably 80s in style, but then this WAS the 80s. Musically and vocally, this is a great song, and Katreese makes light work of the vocals here. I could easily imagine a cover of this taking its place on an early Mariah Carey album.
Side two opens with a disco-sounding beat, synth, lyrics, and vocal style, all in the form of Midnight Fantasy. Even the title lends itself to disco genre. I suddenly noticed a good sign with this song, in that I was singing along in the chorus on my first listen. This is a superb track, and one that really should have been a single.
Katreese is joined by Mark Stevens (Chaka Khan’s brother) and Cyndi Mizelle for next track Serious. This is a soulful slower track, and Mark’s vocals sit perfectly beside Katreese’s lead. Cyndi’s backing vocals really help to add strength to the duelling vocal part of the song.
The album features a ‘special participation’ from Chaka Khan, and it is on the next track, and title track Spread The Love. This song starts off feeling like it’s going to be a big disco number with Chaka (I think) opening the track, but then it doesn’t quite deliver that same pace. It’s a nice song, and there’s a few little signatures in it which remind me a little of the classic Rose Royce track Car Wash. The track does at least seem to pick it’s disco theme up again towards the end, seemingly with Chaka back again for a disco meets gospel ending.
Final track Private Party is a nice mid-tempo track, with a gentle beat. Jerry takes the lead vocal here, and he does a good job. There’s no real sign of Katreese here, but then for Jerry to sing a ‘let’s go have a romantic dinner’ song to his sister would have been a bit weird, even for 1987.
Where are Juicy now?
After the commercial failure of this album in the US and UK, they were dropped by CBS Associated Records. Despite their ‘Let’s make music again!‘ plea in the sleeve notes of the album, they wouldn’t see Juicy return to the charts.
Katreese is now enjoying a successful career as a music director and producer, pianist and saxophonist. She has collaborated with artists like Mariah Carey, Sting, and has worked on Saturday Night Live for 10 years.
Jerry has continued to record and perform, collaborating with artists such as Queen Latifah, Chic, Diana Ross, and Stevie Wonder.
The album was re-released as an expanded edition in August 2012, with three extra versions of opening track All Work, No Play.
POP RESCUE RATING
All in all, i’m genuinely surprised at just how sturdy the songs are. Lyrically and vocally they’re great. At times, the music shows signs of ageing, but at nearly 30 years old, I think that’s allowed, and it actually adds to the genuine sense of an ‘of the time’ album.
With a better choice of singles, and perhaps without the fierce competition of their chart rivals, Juicy could have had a hit with this album. They were truly robbed.
- POP RESCUE 2015 RATING: 5 / 5
- 1987 UK CHART POSITION: Failed to chart.
- POP RESCUE COST: £5.49 from a Discogs.com seller.