Rose Royce

Rose Royce II: In Full Bloom

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As strong as any of the songs featured on 1976's Car Wash soundtrack, Rose Royce's 1977 outing,II: In Full Bloom, allowed them to fully shine in their own right and on their own terms. Although their early incarnation as Total Concept Unlimited had paired them with Motown labelmates the Temptations and given them clout in the label stable, it was the addition of powerhouse vocalist Gwen Dickey and continued pairing with ├╝ber-producer Norman Whitfield that brought the band into their own. Packed with tight funk jams and horn-heavy construction, tempered only occasionally by Dickey's sweet ballads, II: In Bloom is a disco-funk masterpiece -- a pure fusion of both genres that works better than it has a right to, courtesy of both the band's own confidence and Whitfield's artful magic. The wistful and absolutely sublime ballad "Wishing on a Star" opens the set and should have been a chart-heavy hitter. In fact, it reached only number 52 on the R&B charts, proving that the band's fans were truly in the mood to dance. Rose Royce wouldn't disappoint, as the nine-minute funk monster "Do Your Dance" was uncaged. Shaved to a four-minute highlights version, the song gave the band a Top Five R&B hit. The full album version, however, is a far superior workout, while the equally funky "You Can't Please Everybody" and eight-minute epic "It Makes You Feel Like Dancin'" keep the groove moving smoothly. Rose Royce may have shot to stardom with the Car Wash craze, but they are far better without the celluloid glitter covering up their own pure gold.

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