Gwen Guthrie - Portrait (1983)

A review by Patrik Andersson

The first time I got to know Gwen Guthrie was back in 1982 with the amazing "It should have been you", one of the classics out there. But it was much later, in the late 90s, I really got to know her music when I bought her 1985 album "Just for you" and 1986 album "Good to go lover", both including a decent amount of memorable grooves. More recently I got the opportunity to listen to "Portrait", her second release from 1983 that's gonna be reviewed here. This album, for the first time released on CD by Dutch soul funk lovers Vinyl Masterpiece, not only includes the eight original tracks but also three exclusive bonus mixes wrapped in a classy package.

In my mind this perhaps isn't the best album by Guthrie but it still contains plenty of both soulful and funky grooves. Almost all of the more up tempo tracks got a quirky funky groove similar to each other with highlights like the complete a slightly sleepy (in a good sense) "Seventh heaven", refreshing "Family affair" and bumpy "Hopscotch" but you'll also find a more dance oriented tune in the cheerful "Padlock". The ballads are not that impressive and don't give my goose bumps. But the final three(!) bonus mixes however is a very nice addition not to be forgotten.

Although the album got both ups and downs it deserves the OK grade especially with the three great extra mixes by Larry Levan and together with the fact that the vinyl is finally released on CD is a reason as good as any to check it out!

Patrik Andersson, October 2008

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