Barry White

Sheet Music

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This 1980 release came out half a decade after Barry White's hot run of bedroom soul hits and during a time when the silky, compact production style of disco had left its mark on much of modern R&B music. Sheet Music reveals the downside of the situation with a slew of well-below-the-grade numbers and feeble, redundant grooves. The title track starts things off in desperate fashion as White interjects anesthetized Earth, Wind, & Fire horn riffs over a perfunctory "Rock the Boat" beat. Influence works both ways, though, since Beck used the nasal vocal vamp from the end of this song to comedic effect on his Midnite Vultures cut "Hollywood Freaks." The disappointments continue on Sheet Music as White warms to "The Theme From Love Boat" on "Lady, Sweet Lady," turns the already repetitive "I Believe in Love" into an extended mix, and gives calypso a disco turn on "Rum and Coke." The latter cut does contain one of White's irresistible, sexual-advisory monologues, and infectious grooves do pop up sporadically, but these moments are rare. Barry White is a great soul artist; Sheet Music just happens to be a low point in his strong catalog. For those interested in White's music, pick up his Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 on Casablanca or check out any of his fine, early-'70s releases on the 20th Century label.

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