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First Class Love: Rare Tee

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Andy Kellman
First Class Love: Rare Tee, a double-disc compilation of previously unreleased recordings, could be seen as a way to cash in on the tragic, early passing of Teena Marie. It could also be viewed a way for Motown and Hip-O Select to capitalize on Teena's unremitting popularity; from 2004-2009, Teena released three Top Five R&B albums for different labels. However, Lady T, as documented in Brian Chin's liner notes, "proclaimed the music a gift to her long-standing fans." Just as critical, no shortcuts were taken with the packaging. There are extensive quotes from those who were part of Teena's personal and professional lives during her protracted incubation process with ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Andy Kellman
First Class Love: Rare Tee, a double-disc compilation of previously unreleased recordings, could be seen as a way to cash in on the tragic, early passing of Teena Marie. It could also be viewed a way for Motown and Hip-O Select to capitalize on Teena's unremitting popularity; from 2004-2009, Teena released three Top Five R&B albums for different labels. However, Lady T, as documented in Brian Chin's liner notes, "proclaimed the music a gift to her long-standing fans." Just as critical, no shortcuts were taken with the packaging. There are extensive quotes from those who were part of Teena's personal and professional lives during her protracted incubation process with Motown, along with several archival photos (including a couple where she looks like a folk artist, nothing like a budding funk queen). A handful of these 26 tracks were scattered on compilations and reissues. The majority of them will be brand new to the hardcore fans. An album's worth of material recorded in 1976 with Ronnie McNeir leads off disc one. These sessions featured Funkadelic's Billy Nelson (bass) and top-tier session musicians Ray Parker, Jr. (guitar) and Ollie Brown (drums), with McNeir playing his typically lively keyboards while providing background and duet vocals. Certainly not developed as the material Wild and Peaceful, these songs nonetheless could have made for a decent release on Motown subsidiary Prodigal, where McNeir released a 1975 LP. What's remarkable is how Teena had that voice, even at the age of 20. There are two songs from a later 1976 session with Winston Monseque, who produced Tata Vega's Full Speed Ahead (1976), an album featuring a song co-written by Teena. These are decent, self-written funk grooves that point toward "Behind the Groove" and "Square Biz"; "White Soul" even pays respects to her inspirations à la the rap in the latter. A four-song 1977 session with Kenny Kerner and Richie Wise (Gladys Knight & the Pips, Kiss) yields "Why Can't I Get Next to You," an elegant, laid-back number that could have been a minor hit. Four McNeir remixes, put together in 1983 for a shelved project, incorporates drum-machine overdubs and sound chintzy compared to the muscularity of Robbery, Teena's 1983 album for Epic. Disc two consists of an eight-song acoustic demo session produced by Berry Gordy. If anything, these raw versions -- just Teena and her guitar -- make it apparent that she could have laid down a spectacular career-spanning Unplugged-type release.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/28/2011
  • Label: Hip-O Select
  • UPC: 602527663951
  • Catalog Number: 001547502
  • Sales rank: 99,137

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Teena Marie Primary Artist, Guitar, Vocals
Ronnie McNeir Keyboards, Background Vocals, Synthesizer Bass
Ollie E. Brown Drums
Ray Parker Jr. Guitar
Billy "Bass" Nelson Bass
Technical Credits
Teena Marie Composer
Smokey Robinson Composer
Ronnie McNeir Arranger, Composer, Producer, Duet
Guy Costa Engineer
Steven Escallier Engineer
Humberto Gatica Engineer
Berry Gordy Jr. Producer
Ivy Jo Hunter Composer
Kenny Kerner Producer
Winston Monseque Producer
Kevin Reeves Mastering
Doug Rider Engineer
Sylvester Rivers Arranger
William "Mickey" Stevenson Composer
Richie Wise Producer
Brian Chin Liner Notes
Sylvia Moy Composer
Mathieu Bitton Art Direction
Ryan Null Photo Coordination
Michele Horie Producer, Art Direction
Andrew Skurow Tape Research
Cal Harris Engineer
L'Tonya Hall Composer
Mickey Boyce Composer
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