Cheryl Lynn

In the Night/Instant Love

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This two-fer assembles Cheryl Lynn's third and fourth LPs for Columbia, released during the last gasps of the disco empire. The 1981 effort In the Night pairs the singer with producer Ray Parker, Jr., who strips away the remaining vestiges of disco-era sensibilities to focus on appealingly heartfelt R&B that radiates with warmth. While In the Night boasts its fair share of dancefloor-ready material -- the opening "Shake It Up Tonight" even cracked the Billboard R&B Top Ten -- it's the more mellow and romantic songs that command attention, and for all of its considerable sass, Lynn's voice also boasts a vulnerability that's truly affecting. For the follow-up Instant Love, she teams with another R&B superstar, Luther Vandross, who handles production duties and chimes in for a duet remake of the Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell classic "If This World Were Mine." While largely abandoning the ballad approach of In the Night, the album similarly avoids the schmaltz that afflicts so many records of the era in question, instead evoking the classic soul of the previous decade but with a contemporary touch ideally suited to Lynn's voice.

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