Leroy Hutson

Closer to the Source

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AllMusic Review by

After a series of albums where he handled much the production and writing as a one-man show, Leroy Hutson teamed up with a number of collaborators (including Linda Clifford producer Gil Askey) to record 1978's Closer to the Source. The result is an unambitious but slick album of pop-soul. The big problem with this album is that its music is too derivative too often to make a strong case for Hutson's gifts as a performer: The jazzy melody of "They've Got Love" sounds almost identical to Stevie Wonder's late-'60s string of orchestrated pop-soul hits and the Marvin Gaye-inspired "Where Did Love Go" has a lovely, string-sweetened arrangement but quotes "What's Going On" a little too closely for its own good. Another problematic cut in this area is the title track, which closely imitates the light, jazzy sound that was bringing Earth, Wind & Fire hit after hit around this time. Although the outside writers and production help aid the album's consistency, the best cuts on Closer to the Source are the ones either written or co-written by Hutson himself: "Get to This (You'll Get to Me)" builds a strong melody on the tension between an ethereal melody and percolating, horn-spiced groove, and "Heaven Right Here on Earth" is the kind of silky slow jam that Hutson always excelled at. In the end, Closer to the Source is a solid album that will please Hutson's cult of fans but will probably seem a little too derivative to other soul music enthusiasts.

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