Chairmen of the Board

Carolina Beach Music Bands: The Archive Series

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This volume of Carolina Beach Music Bands: The Archive Series collects two albums from General Johnson & the Chairmen of the Board: 1987's The Music and 1993's What Goes Around Comes Around. The Music is the slightly stronger of the two albums, with catchy songs such as the title track, "Don't Walk Away" and "Love Is What You Make It." Johnson's soaring melodies and vocals still sound much like they did back in the '60s and '70s; despite the synth-heavy arrangements, many of the songs, such as "Forever Together" and "Loverboy," sound like they're ten or twenty years older than they actually are, but in a good way. The slightly out-of-time feeling continues on What Goes Around Comes Around, but with somewhat weaker results. On this album the new jack-styled arrangements grate against Johnson's sunny melodies more often, and the songwriting isn't as inspired. In some ways, it's too bad that Johnson & the Chairmen didn't just stick with the classic soul arrangements and productions that made them shine in their heyday, since songs like "Better Late Than Never," "Dreamin'" and "If It Ain't One Thing, It's Another" had the potential to sound even better in that setting. Even so, the music on this two-fer is infectious enough to prove that General Johnson & the Chairmen of the Board weren't down for the count in the '80s and '90s.

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