Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose

Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose

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The self-titled 1972 debut by Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose starts off with a bang, leading with the sublime pop-soul hit "Too Late to Turn Back Now." That soulful, elegant single, along with the more uptempo smash "Treat Her Like a Lady," is the high point not only of the Florida group's album, but of its entire career. Unfortunately, there's little else of that caliber on this album; too many of the other songs sound like 5th Dimension rejects, with Bob Archibald's middle-of-the-road production obscuring the undeniably impressive male/female interplay of the four singers. (Confusingly, the quartet included a second sister, Billie Jo Cornelius, who didn't get her sister's star billing.) Leader Eddie Cornelius isn't a bad songwriter; the ballads "Let Me Down Easy" and "Don't Ever Be Lonely (A Poor Little Fool Like Me)" (which has a phenomenal chorus hook) are swell nuggets of '70s soul well worth seeking out by fans of the genre. Too many songs, however, are laden with swelling orchestral flourishes and stymied by listless rhythm sections that sap all the energy out of the proceedings. Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose is worth picking up in a bargain bin, but casual fans might be better served by one of the several compilations available, all of which cherry-pick the best songs from this uneven album.

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