Peabo Bryson


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Anthology Review

by Lindsay Planer

This double-disc set compiles 30 of Peabo Bryson's highest-charting -- as well as best-loved -- R&B and pop/soul classics. Bryson's smooth tenor vocals epitomize the late '70s and '80s quiet storm genre of laid-back sexy soul music. Anthology highlights both Bryson's hits as a solo artist, as well as his highly regarded and memorable duets. Additionally, by cross-licensing songs from other labels, Anthology is easily the most comprehensive overview of Bryson's work available. While this set is drawn primarily from his albums on Capitol Records in the mid-to-late '70s and '80s, the set begins with a trio of songs -- "Underground Music," "Just Another Day," and "I Can Make It Better" from Bryson's debut on the Atlanta, GA-based Bang label. His lengthy relationship with Capitol began in earnest with Reaching for the Sky -- represented on this collection by the Top Ten title track, among several others. Bryson's tremendous crossover appeal insured that pop and R&B radio were always mere minutes away from either one of Bryson's solo hits or his numerous duets. The album that broke Bryson nationally was a volume with co-vocalist Natalie Cole titled We're the Best of Friends. Included from that release are the hits "Gimmie Some Time" and "What You Won't Do for Love." The instantly recognizable "Tonight I Celebrate My Love" is one of the three duets underscoring the special chemistry between Bryson and Roberta Flack. While no substitute for her late partner Donny Hathaway, Bryson certainly rekindles the flame. Another notable duet on Anthology is "Lovers After All," featuring co-vocalist Melissa Manchester. The track stands as the only highlight on her otherwise forgettable For the Working Girl album in 1980. Anthology features a 12-page liner notes booklet including an essay by David Nathan as well as detailed track information.

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