Sweet Stuff

WeWatnSounds • 2021

It’s hard to say what would have happened to hip-hop without Sylvia Robinson. What is certain, however, is that her label Sugarhill Records released two of the genre’s first global hits, »Rapper’s Delight« and »The Message«. Before her role as hip-hop’s midwife, Sylvia had her own career as a recording artist: born Sylvia Vanterpool in New York in 1936, she made a few recordings under the name Little Sylvia in the early fifties before landing the hit »Love Is Strange« with Mickey Baker as Mickey & Sylvia in 1956. Since the mid-sixties at the latest, Sylvia Robinson has also been active as a producer, and with the founding of All Platinum Records in 1968, her first own label followed, supplemented a little later by Stang Records and Vibration. There also appeared in 1975 the second of her four albums, which bear only her first name. »Sweet Stuff« may stand a little in the shadow of her debut “Pillow Talk”, but from today’s point of view it is a rounded, sovereign seventies soul album. Robinson presents herself as a smooth, self-confident seductress, erotic crackling in her voice is part of her basic equipment. Most ostensibly, of course, in her cover version of Serge Gainsbourg’s »Je t’aime,« which she gives a Latin soul touch with Ralfi Pagan, who had drawn attention to himself with records on Fania, which is also noticeable as an accent in other places on »Sweet Stuff«. Less hit collection than auteur album, some songs nevertheless stand out, most notably the well-tempered funk of the grandiose »Private Performance«, which is pretty much situated between Quiet Storm and Disco, the two genres that were to develop from here. Mellow and funky also the “Sho Nuff Boogie” recorded with the vocal trio The Moments. Great aside: the completely surprising guitar solo in the outro of »Next Time That I See You«.