Ray Parker, Jr. & Raydio / Ray Parker, Jr.

A Woman Needs Love

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A Woman Needs Love followed Two Places at the Same Time as the second of two albums credited to Ray Parker Jr. & Raydio. It was the first time Parker got the front sleeve to himself -- a signal that he had become the focal point, even though Raydio was his baby from the beginning. While Arnell Carmichael continued to provide some lead and background vocals, Parker stepped up -- making the most out of his limited range -- and performed the entirety of the lead on the album's first single. "A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do)," a clever and efficient slice of adult contemporary bubblegum R&B, addressed men, appealed to women, and threw in a shrewd reference to "Jack and Jill." It topped Billboard's Soul chart and came three spots short of topping the Hot 100. The album's other two charting singles -- "It's Your Night," a soft funk number featuring Cheryl Lynn, and the wistful "That Old Song," where Gene Page-arranged strings play as much of a role as Parker and Carmichael -- didn't fare nearly as well. Other notables include the very Heatwave/Rob Temperton-like "All in the Way You Get Down," as well as "Still in the Groove," a sequel to the previous year's instrumental funk hit "For Those Who Like to Groove." As usual, RPJ's likable, sly, and affable nature makes the lesser material go down easy. [Funky Town Grooves' 2012 reissue adds three bonus mixes from the album's 7" and 12" releases.]

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