The Company

Devotion

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Not to be confused with dance-pop outfit Company B, 1970s arena rockers Bad Company, or 1990s hard-rockers Company of Wolves, Company was a seven-man R&B group for whom Irving Azoff's Giant label had high hopes in 1993. That year, Company debuted with Devotion, an urban contemporary outing that finds the vocal harmony group drawing on influences ranging from Take Six to Aaron Hall and Keith Sweat. Though Guy and Hall are among Company's influences, Company isn't influenced by Guy's more rugged and hard-edged new jack swing -- rather, the vocal harmony septet has benefited from Hall's smoother, more romantic offerings. But Company realizes that R&B didn't start with Guy or Sweat, and one also hears influences ranging from Earth, Wind & Fire and the Gap Band to Larry Graham and Stevie Wonder. The Gap Band's Charles Wilson, of course, was a heavy influence on Hall; so being indebted to Hall also means being indebted to Wilson. The members of Company definitely have chops, and their harmonies are fairly impressive on original material as well as on covers of EWF's "Devotion" and Wonder's "Love's in Need of Love Today." Not outstanding but certainly decent, Devotion indicates that Company was well worth keeping an eye on.

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