SummaryIn 1986, five years after the release of his first album, Lawrence Ross returned with a new Twilight record called Pains of Love. Switching organic live instrumentation for electronics, Ross created a monster soulful boogie album with keyboard stylings that make it sound like it could be a new record produced by someone like Dam Funk or J*Davey. This one, along with its younger sibling has been trading hands for silly money but is now available to all.
Taking the experience and proceeds from his debut, Still in Love, Ross spent a few years building himself a studio, and added engineering to his list of skills as a multi-instrumentalist. He was also mentored by Grover Washington Jr. having met him backstage at the Circle Star Theater. Mouthpiece in hand Ross played one of Washington Jr.s' songs using the stars' saxophone. "When you're young you have no fear," says Ross. "That's because you are insane!" he jokes. "He loved it and gave me his phone number to call and play for him on the phone and he would tell me what I needed to improve upon."
While his first record was recorded in a unique way, with Ross single-handedly creating the appearance of a band, he hoped to make his next recordings with the help of musicians. Lightening the burden of putting an entire album together would make the process more enjoyable and rewarding. However, that's not what happened.
Pains of Love began as a demo for Smith and Wessun (not the rap group that followed a decade or so later with the same name.) Their manager was Paul Mack Jr., promotions man for Atlantic, also manager for the Perfect Circle. He had heard "Scorpittiarus", from Still In Love when it was released, and had helped facilitate some serious airplay on San Francisco station KBLX. He contacted Ross to create tunes that Smith and Wessun could use as demo tracks for Atlantic. Ross recorded "You Look So Good", "Give All My Love", "Pains of Love" and the beginnings of "You're In Love" at Likewise Studio in Oakland. There he was aided by musicians from Bill Summers group Summers Heat. They were under major label exclusive contracts at the time, and their work was strictly "off the record." Mack took the three finished tracks to Atlantic who liked them and wanted to sign Smith and Wessun to a contract. However, on the day of the signing, one of the two "fell in love with the other guys' wife," explains Ross. "It was a bit of a soap opera and that killed the Atlantic deal idea."
Liking the way the first three tracks came out Ross was determined not to let them go to waste. He took them back to his own studio in Vallejo and remixed them. He then set about finishing the half-done "You're In Love", while fleshing out the rest of an album. Now that he had his own studio, and more time to make a better quality record, it seems like an odd choice to replace the layers of instrumentation heard on his debut, with a handful of synths. But the Prophet 5 keyboard has just been released and Ross loved the way it sounded. "It was new and different, and something that hadn't really been experimented with yet," says Ross. "At the time I thought it was leaning towards the future. Jazz was headed that way, and I was trying to fuse it with R&B." The purchase of the Prophet 5 alone pushed the cost of this album beyond that of his debut.
The first 500 LPs will be numbered and include a printed inner sleeve. Both the LP and CD include liner notes with the full Twilight story plus photos from back in the day. LPs also include free code to download a digital version of the album.