Twilight Still Loving You/Pains of Love

Upon first listen, Twilight's ultra-rare 1981 debut, Still Loving You, resembles the classic, early '80s, West coast vibe of funky soul bands like Maze and Con Funk Shun, and that comparison is made in the best sense. Simultaneously organic and polished, with all live instrumentation, Twilight sound like a great band that just slipped through the cracks, and that's just what happened with Still Loving You and its electronic follow-up, 1986's Pains Of Love. Yet, Twilight weren't a band. It was the output of one Lawrence Ross, who worked the nightshift at a flourmill and who filled all positions (with the exception of a guest vocalist and horn section), and recorded his debut in one week, resulting in some flawlessly smooth funk. Cult classic "Scorpittairus" is the stand out, a sumptuous blend of samba and relaxed bay area soul that summarizes the album's balmy aura. Switching live instrumentation with the Prophet 5 keyboard for Pains Of Love, Ross created a storming, mid-'80s boogie album. Ironically, Love sounds more dated than its predecessor, since it too often veers toward generic, slow-jam R&B. But on "Dance With Me" and "Never Want To See You Low," Ross crafts some classic dance floor magic along the lines of D Train or Leroy Burgess. Kudos to the crew at Ubiquity for reissuing these records (individual copies of the original vinyl releases often go for $500 a piece) and for the comprehensive liner notes, which tell Lawrence Ross's complete story. (Ubiquity)