Wednesday, October 24, 2007

(AVI) Part 5

Eastbound Expressway first appeared on the 1976 single "Danger Zone", a production by British DJ and producer Ian Levine.

Levine had originally intended the name to be Ian Levine and the Sounds of Summer but then changed it into Eastbound Expressway. Eastbound Expressway was then revived in 1978 when Levine was signing James Wells to AVI. One of the songs, "Never Let Go" was a repetitive funky dance groove. AVI loved the song but loathed Wells' wailing on top of it and asked Levine to take off his voice. "Never Let Go" was then released as an Eastbound Expressway 12" single which became a club hit early 1979, and AVI asked Levine to produce an album for it.

AVI liked the resulting album Levine delivered but they just didn't think it was as funky as "Never Let Go" so the album released under another moniker, credited to Croisette. Levine rushed back into the studio to record another album with a more groove-based sound which was released, credited to Eastbound Expressway, in the summer of 1979. As with many 70s studio projects, no line-up appeared on the cover. The vocals had been sung by Levine's usual crew of session singers in the London Trident Studios.

When Levine began producing Hi-NRG records for Record Shack Records in 1983, he revived the Eastbound Expressway name for the 12"s "Primitive Desire" (1983) - running 13½ minutes - and "Frantic Love" (1984), once again with a faceless group. Both singles were big hits on the Hi-NRG scene, the vocals being provided by three session singers, Norma, Shirley & Dee Lewis and one of Levine's other artists Laura Pallas.

Levine left Record Shack early 1986 and signed with UK label Passion Records where he assembled an actual line-up for Eastbound Expressway, consisting of Karen Freeman, Joycelyn Phillips, and Bonnie Anderson. The trio appeared on three successful 12 inches for the label, most successfully "You're a Beat" (a pun on Eurobeat which the Hi-NRG sound was now being labelled) and also submitted the track "Whiplash" for Levine's own label Nightmare Records, early 1989.

A compilation CD The Best of Eastbound Expressway, comprising all the recordings Levine did under that name, was released by Miami-based Hot Productions, Inc. in 1995.

AVI Part 5
Lp "Eastbound Expressway" [AVI 6068] (1979)
12' "Never Let Go" [AVI-12-238-D] (1978)

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