Peabo Bryson

Peabo

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Peabo, released in 1976, is the first album from the talented singer. Even by his mid-twenties, Bryson had the clear and singular tenor and the mix of strength and vulnerability. Not yet an established lothario, the best tracks here deal mostly with regret and bittersweet emotions. Bryson wrote or co-wrote all of the tracks and serves as producer. On the first song, the country-styled "Just Another Day," Bryson reviews a going nowhere relationship as he sings "I guess I'll stay and see the end/Imagine I was here/For a while" with the perfect balance of restraint and self-pity. The emotional and melody rich "I Can Make It Better" has Bryson giving his best performance here. Peabo also has up-tempo tracks, although he's not as proficient at them as he is the ballads. "Smile" and "Underground Music" are skilled, but his metier is no doubt songs with a slower pace. The bittersweet "Lovely Lady" is close to the work he would subsequently do for Capitol. Recorded with the "LA Rhythm Section," the track features a dramatic string arrangement from Gene Page and another smooth and assured vocal from Bryson. The last track, "God Is on Our Side," has Bryson skillfully putting across his message without making it boring. Peabo was recorded at four different recording studios and employed esteemed session players and singers including Ray Parker, Jr., David T. Walker, Luther Vandross, and Cissy Houston. Peabo is a great debut and offers a few of his most loved songs.

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