After spending months on the road, opening for the era’s hottest R&B acts (including Earth, Wind & Fire, Tower of Power, War, Natalie Cole, Bill Withers and B.B. King), the members of Pleasure were primed to deliver their most confident album yet. The result was Joyous, which offered a perfect, genre-bending example of their self-declared “360 degrees of music.” Marking the band’s final album with its original line-up, Joyous allowed each member of the group to shine—particularly when it came to songwriting. Among the highlights is the McClain-penned party anthem “Dance to the Music,” Brewster’s pop-forward “Let Me Be the One” and Michael Hepburn’s enduring hit “Joyous.” The title track, which opens the album, offers a six-and-a-half-minute-long funk-fueled jam that feels right at home on a disco floor. The song became the group’s first Top 40 hit on the R&B charts, helping to propel Joyous to No.34 on Billboard’s Top Soul Albums chart and No.113 on the overall album chart (Pleasure’s highest position at that point in their career). The album also featured a handful of chilled-out delights, including Donald Hepburn’s sultry “Sassafras Girl” and Nathaniel Phillips’ smooth-as-silk ballad “Tune In.” Dan Brewster’s “Only You, meanwhile, delivers a soulful, socially conscious message.

Since its release, Joyous has only grown in its popularity and has become a sought-after favorite of DJs. Reflecting on the album, AllMusic called it a classic that underscores Pleasure’s risk-taking nature.” The UK-based Soul and Jazz and Funk hailed it as “a must-own [LP] for jazz-funk enthusiasts, while Soulstrut praised Joyous as “the apex of [Pleasure’s] sophisticated, matured sound.” Over the decades, several of the songs on Joyous have found new lives through samples—particularly the title track, which has appeared in releases by Janet Jackson, LL Cool J, Eric B. & Rakim, Sugarhill Gang and Daft Punk, among many others. “Let Me Be the One,” meanwhile, was also sampled in tracks by the likes of Public Enemy and Ultramagnetic MCs.

Pleasure – Joyous

Release Date:
Jan 6, 2023


Let Me Be The One
Only You
Can’t Turn You Loose


Sassafras Girl
Tune In
Dance To The Music


Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Flute – Herman Riley
Arranged By [Horn and string arrangements] – Dan Brewster
Art Direction – Phil Carroll
Baritone Saxophone – Robert Carr*
Bass, Backing Vocals – Nathaniel Phillips
Cello – Armand KaproffNathan Gershman
Design – Jamie Putnam
Drums – Bruce Carter
Engineer [Assistant] – Jackson Schwartz
Engineer [Recording] – Eddie Bill Harris
Engineer [Recording], Remix – Frank Byron Clark*
Guitar, Backing Vocals – Marlon “The Magician” McClain*
Keyboards, Backing Vocals – Donald HepburnMichael Hepburn
Lacquer Cut By – KPG*
Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals – Sherman Davis
Mastered By – Geoff SykesKevin Gray
Photography By – Phil Bray
Producer – Wayne Henderson
Tambourine, Bell Tree, Cowbell, Congas, Drum [Quica], Percussion [Flexitone], Backing Vocals – Bruce Smith (2)
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Dennis Springer
Trombone – Dan BrewsterMayo Tiana
Trumpet – Dennis Christianson*Steve Madaio
Viola – Alex Neiman*Allan HarshmanPamela Goldsmith
Violin – Betty LaMagnaBonnie DouglasDorothy WadeIsrael BakerJanet LakatosNathan KaproffNathan RossRobert SushelStanley Plummer
Violin [Concertmaster] – Paul Shure