Acoustic Sounds

Eramus Hall

Your Love is My Desire



Label: Westbound / ORG Music

Produced By: Joel Martin and Rudy Robinson

Engineered By: Gary Praeg, Ken Sands, Russ Pallazola & Artie Fields and Ron Lynch

Mixed By: Gary Praeg and Bobby Warner

Mastered By: Dave Gardner

By: Evan Toth

March 13th, 2024





Reissue of Eramus Hall's "Your Love is My Desire" Finds the Band Making Their Moment Count

Lovers of the Late 70s and 80s Will Find Something to Enjoy In This Short-Lived Funk, Soul, and R&B Outfit

ORG Music continues their rollout of selections from the Westbound Records catalog that have been remastered and reissued on vinyl for the first time in several decades with a rare release from later in the label’s history, Eramus Hall’s, Your Love is My Desire (1980). Armen Boladian founded Detroit’s Westbound Records 1968 and it became a soul and funk dynamo, especially during the years following Motown’s exodus from Motor City. ORG’s series recently included the Ohio Players’ 1973 release, Pleasure and The Counts’, What’s Up Front That-Counts.

This reissue of Your Love is My Desire is available on black vinyl, as a transparent red “RSD Essential” edition, and on limited edition “sunkissed yellow” vinyl. The album will also be issued on CD and on streaming services where it had been previously unavailable (I could only locate 16-bit CD quality streaming sources). Also included in this release is a replication of the original 1980 lyric sheet. Audio was taken from the original master tapes, but were presumably mastered from the digital domain. Dave Gardner was the engineer tasked with the remastering job. You can watch my in-depth interview with Mr. Gardner right here on Tracking Angle.

Of course, there are some records out there that are expensive; but I’d wager that many readers here - and this writer - have dug deeply into their wallets on more than one occasion to acquire something special for their collection. However, there are some prices that are so eye-watering that they might elicit a slight involuntary gasp and bring a bit of water to the eye. Eramus Hall’s album had but one domestic pressing when originally released in 1980. Median price for this album on Discogs is currently at $409 with only one copy currently available (autographed and in mint condition) in Spain, offered at $1,451.00. Is someone slicing onions? Would you care to borrow my hanky to dab those eyes?

Westbound reissued the album on vinyl in 1996 and it was also reissued on vinyl for Record Store Day 2016 on the Expansion label out of the UK as a limited 180-gram release. ORG head, Andrew Rossiter, explains the reasoning behind the label’s 2024 reissue, “Eramus Hall may not be the biggest name in the Westbound catalog, but their debut album Your Love Is My Desire is one that kept popping up in conversation when speaking with friends about our reissue series."

Rossiter also weighs in on the album’s scarcity, “It’s very rare to come by an original pressing, and much like the other releases in the Westbound catalog, the reissues (and bootlegs) that have surfaced in more recent years leave a lot to be desired.” Regarding improving the album’s sound, Rossiter continues, “our mastering engineer Dave Gardner and archival specialist Catherine Vericolli put a lot of time and care into this reissue, and the results speak for themselves. Case in point; Joel Martin, who produced the album, said that he never remembered it sounding so good.” This new reissue was pressed at Furnace Record Pressing in Virginia. How did they do? Keep reading.

The album’s first track – “Your Love is My Desire” – is a decadent way to begin this dance party. The group holds nothing back: there are heavenly background vocals, strings, horn solos, Brazilian percussion, and songwriting that feels very rich and full of the excess and overkill of the late 70s and early 80s; that influence can also easily be found on “Feelin’ Higher” which boasts one of the most infectious grooves on the record and serves as a stylistic transition between the 1970s and the decade to come.

“Think Positively” is another standout with its - certainly positive - message. Metallic piano riffs punctuate the song and provide a dramatic pad that would make for a fine sample in contemporary music (if it hasn’t already been used). The vocal echo is deep and wide and avoids becoming murky. Drums are also a focus of the mix, each tom and cymbal has its own sonic real estate. Joe Anderson’s wiry and percussive slap bass goes out of its way to be heard.

The high frequencies are well-defined and create the album’s sonic signature (on this reissue, at least as I’ve not heard an original pressing). At first, I thought that the album was just too bright, but the more I listened, the more it transported me to a live setting. Instruments like the triangle and the delay on rimshots on “She Shined a Light” coupled with the emphasis on the high frequencies create an atmosphere that is very realistic, similar to the sound of a live band bouncing off of a catering hall’s walls. There’s also an added sparkle to the Fender Rhodes flourishes throughout the record.

Because of this, some of the drum and percussion tracks become slightly lost. There is a cornucopia of percussive instruments here like chimes, etc  and other things, that add a certain sophisticated panache to the aural soundscape, but some of that high frequency detail comes at the expense of a fully engaging drum mix. It’s a balancing act, and overall, it’s successful, but a recording and presentation like this makes this listener really want to feel each hit of the toms right  in the heart.

“Stuck in the Mud '' begins side two and the verses resemble a Jim Carroll, post-punk, late 70s singspiel approach coupled with an R&B attitude. This is - of course - what makes this reissue interesting, it’s hearing a funky musical unit deftly avoiding the disco trap of the day (for the most part) and exploring modern sounds through a somewhat quirky - but still funky - lens.

The influence of Westbound Records’ labelmates Funkadelic and Ohio Players can be heard clearly on “Feelin’ Higher” and straddles an interesting line between the soulfulness of the aforementioned artists and the waning days of disco that were upon the culture in 1980. The album doesn’t quite reach the peaks of those two funk giants, but it gets close. There is a dose of high energy and some zany vocals thrown in for good measure. Another one of the funkier tunes on the album is, “Funk Permit'' which is - of course - what one needs if one truly hopes to get funky. This track is certainly an appropriately vigorous introduction into “Super Funk'' which - with silly high pitched voices mixed with deep baritone vocals - contribute to the album’s fun factor. Think “Funky Worm” by the Ohio Players (also released on Westbound Records). It’s interesting to realize that “Funky Worm” was released in 1973, a full seven years before Your Love is My Desire, so - in the context of its times - Eramus Hall’s album might have seemed a bit of a throwback. “Super Funk '' also features the fantastic lyric describing the song’s imaginary superhero as “faster than a 45 on 78."

”While the groove is arranged very well, there’s still some element missing in the final degree of infectious danceability. A song like “Super Funk” should almost force a listener to get up out of their seat and move around. However, there is an ingredient lacking here, some lost element of cohesion in the mix. All of the tracks are good, for sure - even very good, but there is something keeping them from becoming indispensable.

Dance-floor grooves aren’t the only trick on Your Love is My Desire though, there’s plenty of clever composition and melody, too. The memory of Marvin Gaye is recalled several times on the album. “Just Me and You” boasts a “What’s Going On” aesthetic with similar chord progressions, string tension and vocal approaches but with plenty of melody and a great sax solo by Charmie Currie, too. “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” covers some Gaye territory as well and is - in fact - one of the stronger tracks on the album; the vocal harmonies coupled with a thick horn arrangement bring to mind a refined afrobeat vibe that some modern labels would be very excited to replicate. Eramus Hall does a fine job emulating the Prince of Soul, but - of course - they can only come so close to approximating his royal highness of R&B.

The record I listened to was a black vinyl variant. The album’s noise floor is very low and the disc is well-centered; this is an excellent pressing from Furnace. As mentioned, a facsimile of the original lyric sheet is included, but the rear of the sheet is blank (as probably was the original), but it might have been fun to include a full picture of the band, or more liner notes about the project. If you’re a fan of wide, stereo soundstage, you’ll be very happy with the presentation here. The album’s original mix - by Gary Praeg and Bobby Warner - supplies plenty of space to the percussive nuances and accents tucked away, you won’t miss any of them. The album is also packaged in a well-made "MoFi style" innersleeve.

Eramus Hall released a follow-up album in 1984 on Capitol Records, but that was it for the group. The initial incarnation of Westbound Records folded in the early 80’s, their last single to chart was released in 1983. This is the tale of a great group of musicians and composers who really took advantage of their shot in the studio with the backing of a label that believed in their brand of soul and funk and who also complimented the other acts on their label. While Eramus Hall may not be the superlative specimen of Detroit-based funk in 1980, they get darn close. 

Music Specifications

Catalog No: ORGM-2282 & WB 5000

Pressing Plant: Furnace Record Pressing

Speed/RPM: 33 1/3

Size: 12"

Channels: Stereo

Presentation: Single LP