Men at Large

Men at Large

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Cleveland natives Jason Champion and Dave Tolliver are Men at Large. The hefty young men are an electric act live, and producer Gerald LeVert (along with a handful of co-producers) effectively captured that heat. LeVert incorporates comedy, hip-hop, rap, urban and soul on a blue-plate selection of songs. It opens with a comedy skit, where LeVert is looking for the two overweight lovers. The hip-hop tunes are snappy, danceable items, but the ballads are a different story. Men at Large ballads are not typical '60s/'70s slowies; they're more like mini-dramas intended to evoke screams, not cool "oohs" and "ahhhs." Champion's expressive, demonstrative tenor is a jewel; he'll remind you of multiple exclamation points when he slides into falsetto. The infectious "Heartbeat" has a reggae beat, some slick raps, and a bass voice accenting the beat -- a real charmer. When you play "So Alone," have a hankie ready. It was a modest R&B hit for the fellows. None of the other releases, unfortunately, did much to enhance their popularity.

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