Richard 'Popcorn' Wylie - Extrasensory Perception (Music CD)
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The set fits together as a well-constructed and designed piece, but there are some clear standouts, mainly in the middle. First there is the righteous heartbroken soul midtempo ballad called "Lost Time," which walks a wonderfully groovy line between what Motown was issuing at the beginning of the '70s and what Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff were pouring out in buckets from Philly International. The string arrangements by Gene Page and Paul Riser are brilliant, and the choruses and horns assembled by Wylie and Jackson are instantly memorable. Then there's the killer breakbeat that kicks off the title track, leading into its dynamite choral refrain and harpsichord (very uncharacteristic of a soul record at the time). Wylie's vocal is big and full and soars above the whirl of instruments. The beautiful shuffling guitar lines that introduce the album--via Coffey and Walker on "Singing About You & Me"--have been sampled on countless hip-hop recordings.
Chicago's wonderful Dusty Groove imprint rescued this from Universal's vaults where it had been languishing since it was deleted. The bittersweet thing about this reissue is that Wylie participated in the reissue plans but passed away in September of 2008 before it was re-released. This is a wonderfully fitting tribute to his genius, which has always been presented in compilations of his singles.