Running In The Family – Level 42 (1987)

LEV 42
Polydor Records POLH 42

I have several albums by Level 42 each of them jam packed with great British Jazz-Funk. Level 42 are an English Band who’s line up at the time of this album comprised of Mark King (Bass Guitar, Vocals), Mike Lindup (Keyboards, Vocals), Boon Gould (Guitars) and Phil Gould (Drums). This was the bands 7th studio album and was preceded by the single “Lessons In Love” in 1986 which is included. There are eight tracks of which three are six minutes long produced by Wally Badarou and Level 42. This is the last album of 1980’s to feature brothers Phil and Roland ‘Boon’ Gould, who had cited exhaustion and also dissatisfaction with the musical direction as their departure reasons.

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Side 1

The album opens with the single “Lessons In Love” which became an international hit reaching #3 in the UK, #12 in US and #1 in five countries including Germany. It reached the top ten in another 10 counties. The track comes to life with Mark King’s bass and Phil Gould’s drums. Gary Barnacle performs a saxophone solo. Followed by “Children Say” (UK #22) a more gentle track with falsetto backing vocals of Wally Badarou. The title track “Running In The Family” follows, a more pop inspired song, again with backing by Badarou. Some great lyric’s describing two brothers getting out the house after been told off by Father, then being picked up by the police. It was released as a single at the launch of the album reaching #6 in UK. Side one ends with the the ballad “It’s Over”. Probably one of their most unusual songs due to its slow pace. As the title suggests its about a relationship coming to an end and the persons concerns and thoughts of breaking up and walking out the door. This made the UK top ten as a single.

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Side 2

Side 2 continues with “To Be With You Again” (UK #10), an uptempo funky sound to this one. Mark King’s bass takes you on a ride. “Two Solitudes” has lead vocals by Mike lindrup. There is long acoustic guitar solo giving this a more pop flavour. My featured track is “Fashion Fever” which is Level 42 at there Jazz-Funk best. Pumping bass throughout and great keyboards.

The closing track “Sleepwalking”. Some nice synth keyboards on this and harmony vocals.

Album made #2 in UK and spent 54 weeks on its chart run. It also charted in Europe making the top ten in many counties including The Netherlands where 5 singles from the album also made the top ten. It also reached #23 in the US.

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