Listening - Wednesday, Jan 29th 2020
- Clifford Thornton – Ketchaoua (1969 BYG)
- Archie Shepp – Montreux One (1976 Arista)
- Howard Stelzer & Jason Talbot – Songs (2003 Intransitive)
- Peabo Bryson & Roberta Flack – Born To Love (1983 Capitol)
Well, I only ended up writing a short rant about Peabo Bryson & Roberta Flack's Born To Love, so here it is.
In Defense of Born To Love
If you can set aside the incredibly schlocky 80s love ballad lyrics -- heavy-handed and precisely dramatic gestures of eternal love and everything is forever and boundless etc etc. Just get over it, because underneath there is actually a lot of great music on Born To Love.
Blame It On Me and Heaven Above Me feel like stand-outs but the winner of top-schlock lyrical content while remaining a pretty great song is the groan-worthy Tonight, I Celebrate My Love. Really, get over it and bask in the rolling waves of rhodes-like guitar and soft arrangements.
The record stays surprisingly on point until Comin' Alive. Just skip that one, and maybe call it a day after I Just Came Here To Dance. Robbie Buchanan's synth programming at times echos Giorgio Moroder's synths in Limahl's Neverending Story, but there's just too much garbage swirling around it to salvage Comin' Alive.
After that unfortunate turn, the record kind of wimpers away. The synth brass in You're Looking Like Love is fun but the song feels like a poor soundalike of much better material from the same record -- like Maybe! Unfortunately Can We Find Love Again is another mostly forgettable genre exercise.
That said, before giving it a chance, I assumed the whole record would be a series of forgettable genre exercises. There are some seriously great songs and breaks in here, with the standard content disclaimer for the over-the-top schlocky narrative premise.