“Do You Love Me” by Patti Austin (1981) | “Do You Love What You Feel” by Rufus & Chaka (1979)

Let’s give it up for Quincy Jones and two of the finest vocalists he ever worked with.

Patti was an actual Quincy protege. She’d been a professional singer for a full decade, making one-off singles, cutting jazz records, doing a ton of jingle work. She finally leveled up by duetting with MJ on ‘79′s “It’s The Falling In Love”, which was followed by her ridiculous vocal arrangements on George Benson’s “Give Me The Night” and “Love x Love, which were followed by a few killer appearances on Q’s The Dude album, which was finally followed by an album of her own: 1981′s Every Home Should Have One. If I’m not mistaken, it was the first release on Quincy’s own Qwest Records. Silly back cover aside, it’s a great “yacht soul” record, and “Do You Love Me” is its best song. When Quincy and Rod Temperton worked together, they hit that sweet spot where uptempo meets smooth. Patti’s voice was way too chill to ever work with a straight up dance jam (similar to Randy Crawford’s in that regard), so “Do You Love Me” was right in the pocket for her.

Chaka was already well established as the lead singer of Rufus when she and Q crossed paths. Their professional union initially bore fruit with 1978′s “Stuff Like That”. I assume that the idea for Quincy to produce a Rufus album came from that. Rufus was already a pretty tight ensemble, but Quincy gave them a poppier sheen for 1979′s Masterjam LP. Temperton did write a couple of songs on the album, but Rufus was self-contained, and “Do You Love What You Feel” was penned by band member Hawk Wolinski (who would also later write “Ain’t Nobody”). It’s got hooks on hooks on hooks (”I wanna dance all…I wanna dance all…I wanna dance all niii-iii-iiii–ight”) in addition to Q’s disco-acknowledging-but-transcending production. It’s aged well even despite the silly disco whistles at the beginning. Of course, not all of that is Quincy’s fault. The vocal interplay between Chaka and Tony Maiden is great, and of course, Ms. Khan is (IMHO) the best singer of all time.

Two fantastic songs featuring two fantastic vocalists (and one very good one–Tony Maiden was no slouch), produced by Q at the top of his pop/soul game.

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