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Circumstantial Evidence/Wake Up

Shalamar

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Album Review

Now facing forward with a new lineup that included longtime member Micki Free, Delissa Davis, and new addition Sidney Justin, a revitalized Shalamar released Circumstantial Evidence in 1987. It would prove their penultimate effort, and their last for longtime label Solar. Produced by late-'80s wunderkind Babyface, who also appeared as backing vocalist and an esoterically inclined musician, the still sassy Shalamar slammed two singles straight into the charts. The punchy title track revolved around a sparse cyclic beat, featured an awkward rap written and performed by Free, and managed to break the Top 30. "Games," meanwhile, fared better, nearly dipping into the Top Ten and benefiting from ballsier instrumentation and interesting backing vocals. R&B up and comer Pebbles, meanwhile, added backing vocals to the emotive and lighthearted mid-tempo dance number "Playthang." Elsewhere, "Female" emerged an odd, slightly menaced, off-kilter beat basher. One of the few bands of its ilk to survive both a heavy rotation of members and the departure of its figurehead vocalist, Shalamar spent more time in than out of the spotlight through the 1980s. Circumstantial Evidence proved no different. Although the band doesn't break any new ground and the formula feels a little stilted this late in the decade, this slick set shimmered, ultimately giving Shalamar a sophisticated outro, and its fans a delicious nightcap.

Biography

Formed: 1976 in Chicago, IL

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

Shalamar was the creation of Dick Griffey, the booking agent for the television R&B program Soul Train, and British R&B producer Simon Soussan. The group's first single, the 1977 Motown medley "Uptown Festival," featured a bevy of faceless studio musicians; once it became a hit, Griffey decided to form a performing group under the name Shalamar. Through Soul Train, Griffey found Jody Watley,...
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Circumstantial Evidence/Wake Up, Shalamar
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