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Krystol

Though Krystol never achieved a knockout smash, their efforts as a mid-'80s female R&B act ultimately helped pave the way for later luminaries such as Exposé and En Vogue. In addition to solidifying a distinctive group sound, each of the quartet's members was capable of delivering solid lead performances. Coupled with Leon Sylvers III's nouveau R&B/funk production, the resulting material was trendsetting. Krystol was ultimately the outgrowth of several earlier groups with slightly varying lineups. In the mid-'70s, Los Angeles-based teenagers Robyrda Stiger (later changing the first name spelling to Roberta), Tina Scott, and Karon Floyd formed Crystal Blue, a local act that enjoyed success in clubs such as Total Experience and Maverick's Flats. The group disbanded by the latter part of the decade, but the members remained active in the industry. Upon learning of an audition through a member of Solar funk ensemble Lakeside, Stiger became one-third of soul trio Alton McClain & Destiny. Famed Motown writer and producer Frank Wilson and composer John Footman chose her to round out Destiny, which recorded three albums for Polydor between 1978-1981 and scored an international disco hit, "It Must Be Love." When McClain moved on to a solo career, Stiger and fellow member D'Marie Warren continued their working relationship. Stiger had also remained active with former Crystal Blue member Tina Scott as a songwriter, landing "Simple Things" on Destiny's album, Gonna Tell the World. A chance meeting with an imminent R&B producer of the time, Leon Sylvers III (formerly of the Sylvers), led to a deal with his Silverspoon Productions. Sylvers was impressed with the team's writing, as well as their vocals on the demo for "Don't Try to Change Me" -- which he placed on Shalamar's 1982 album Friends. Silverspoon's affiliation with Epic helped Stiger, Scott, and comrades Warren and Floyd -- at this point collectively known as Krystol -- obtain a recording contract the following year. The initial fruit of this labor was 1984's Gettin' Ready. Though the album failed to generate much R&B chart action, the single "After the Dance Is Through" was a European club hit, while the ballad release "Same Place, Same Time" became a quiet storm favorite stateside. As one of the seminal black female acts of the '80s, Krystol also distinguished themselves by being one of very few groups of its nature to split the lead vocal chores amongst all the members, in addition to including writing contributions from all. Despite a number of internal changes at Epic, the group still maintained this input on their sophomore outing, 1985's Talk of the Town. Tragically, in February of that year, Warren was killed in a car crash near completion of the album's recording. Her positive spirit aided the group in finishing the set, which was preceded by a cover version of the Supremes' "Love Is Like an Itchin' in My Heart." When Talk of the Town didn't fare much better commercially than Gettin' Ready, Epic changed the direction of the group for their third LP, 1986's Passion From a Woman. Robbie Danzie, who was initially recruited as a stand-in for Floyd during her maternity leave in 1985, became sole lead vocalist; and a wider selection of producers contributed to the album. Furthermore, Floyd opted not to return after giving birth -- leaving Krystol as a trio. During this period of restructuring, the group finally achieved notable sales and airplay. The singles "Passion From a Woman" and "Precious, Precious" both made the R&B Top 30, providing for more exposure through TV appearances and the group's first video. Ironically, it was right as this success was coming into shape that label problems put a freeze on activity. The third single from Passion From a Woman received little promotion; it would be nearly three years before the follow-up album, I Suggest U Don't Let Go, saw release. When it didn't hit, the group was dropped from Epic's roster, but remained active in the industry -- touring overseas and continuing to write. Danzie released a solo effort in England, (Love) Undeniable (later issued in the U.S. as Only You), and also joined the Masters of Funk for a Japan release in the late '90s. ~ Justin M. Kantor, Rovi
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Comments

MAN!!! Everybody uses that cover!

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