Thursday, April 9, 2009

La Rom "The Bomb" Baker - Tom from Lotus Land talks about the upcoming La Rom Baker 7" series

Originally released as a one sided 7" single, possibly pressed in a quantity of as little as 50 copies, back in 1978. To the few who know, "You're The Best" is regarded as one of the crown jewels of rare soul. The song today sounds fresh as ever, and the previously unreleased "Love Will Make It Better" is an amazing stepper, perfect for today's scene.

As excited as I am about finally being able to have a copy of "You're The Best", it's the unreleased "Love Will Make It Better" tune that has been doing it for me. This record has not left the turntable since it arrived in my mailbox several days ago. Here we have Tom from Lotus Land talking about the history behind these tunes, in his own words. Enjoy!

La Rom "the bomb" Baker
Tom from Lotus Land talks about the upcoming La Rom Baker 7" series

La Rom currently resides in sunny Highland Park, CA, thousands of miles from his hometown of Philly. When La Rom first arrived in LA in late 70's, he had already been established as a rising talent. In LA he quickly fell in with a set of young, talented R&B related musicians. He was called into the studio one day by a frustrated Art Gibbons, who had believed that La Rom could solve the problem he was having finishing a session with Art's band, Sizzle. La Rom still to this day recalls the scattered state "love is all around" was in before he walked in the studio. He stepped up, dropped some vocals, and did what he could to fix what they had already done in the mix

Steve Angelica, founder of the record company, witnessed La Rom in action, and immediately drafted him into the Record Company's stable. It was with Steve that La Rom had a wide access to not only recording facilities, but session players as well. Here he started working on a demo, consisting of "You're The Best" and a couple other songs. Moved by the demo, Steve hastily pressed up promo copies of the tune on 7" and mailed to all contacts he had in an attempt to land a deal with a major. We're guessing this was a small run, perhaps 50 copies or less were printed, and thus the legend of La Rom Baker's "youre the best" was born.

Fast forward 2 years ahead..... to when the offices of The Record Company receive a call from Curtom studios in Chicago. Allegedly a janitor had found this record in a closet he was cleaning out when an A&R from Curtom had spotted the record and gave it a listen. Stunned by the tune, Curtom had called La Rom's management to begin talks of signing La Rom to Curtom for a single. They wanted an up to date (1981) version of "you're the best" a more disco sound. So back into the studios La Rom went, taking with him Chaka Khan's background band at the time with him. The result, just an amazing dance tune with all the soul of the original, spruced up with hot rhythms and club percussion and a pinch of synth.

Unfortunately, though the recording was top notch, La Rom's management wasn't. Steve Angelica had managed to mess up any dealing with Curtom. Before any deals were done, the Curtom budget had dried up, or the interest was lost. Either way, the tapes for the updated Curtom version remained on the shelf.

Too bad for us (the world), we've gathered the master tapes either ended up at Curtom, buried away, auctioned off, or stolen by another janitor perhaps! Or they could have been in possession of Steve Angelica, who did serious time all throughout the 90's for a diamond smuggling operation he was involved in. In such a case many personal and business related articles are seized by the state.

All we have left is the daily mixes that were doled out by the engineer day of recording. On Cassette. Yet though stereo re-imaging, and the help of some serious analog lovers at History Of Recorded Sound, we've managed to transfer the goods and have professionally re-mastered.

We will release 4 songs total from La Rom. Starting with "you're the best" original 1979 version, backed with "love will make it better". Both tunes are modern soul of the highest order. "you're the best" being the uptempo dancer and the B side a soothing soulful stepper which grows on you more with each listen!

Up next will see the first ever release of the 1981 Curtom version of "you're the best". Backed with a hot mid tempo burner called "all in the mind". Due out in stores, hopefully by June.

-Thanks Tom :)

1 comment:

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