Ronnie Jones

Games

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Experimenting with touches of electro-funk and rap, the material on Games broadens Ronnie Jones' genre scope. While in ways it portrays him more as a novelty act than a soul crooner, it effectively demonstrates his penchant for fun vocal antics and his knack for penning clever passages to suit them. This 1980 album is titled appropriately for its good-natured vibe, best evidenced by the sound effects-laden production, staccato rhythms, and insinuating hook of "Video Games" and the funky, edgy club groove of "Tonite." There's a fair share of borrowing, particularly on "Cosmo Rap," whose rhyme scheme stems directly from the Sugarhill Gang's massive "Rapper's Delight," and the rhythm arrangement is influenced directly by the groove that "Delight" sampled (Chic's "Good Times") -- but it's an irresistible indulgence. Jones' remake of Bobby Bloom's "Montego Bay," on the other hand, is refreshingly simple and sprightly, so it's quite disappointing that Hot Productions' CD reissue does not include it (it's replaced by a non-album duet with Claudja Barry). If it's deep, soul-searching you seek, look not here. But if a fun party album -- with a colorful, personable vocalist delivering the goods -- is order of the day, Games is right on target.

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