Face to Face

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GQ are remembered for two very different things: uptempo disco-funk jams ("Disco Nights," "Standing Ovation") and covers of Billy Stewart ballads. And they excelled in both areas. But by 1981 (the year in which Face to Face first came out as a vinyl LP), the popularity that GQ had enjoyed in 1979 and 1980 was starting to fade. Face to Face, which was the Bronx outfit's third album as GQ (in 1976, they recorded an album titled Soul on Your Side as the Rhythm Makers), wasn't as commercially successful as 1979's Disco Nights or 1980's Two. Unlike those albums (both of which went platinum in the United States), Face to Face didn't contain any blockbuster hits. But Face to Face did make it to number 18 on Billboard's R&B albums chart, and it contained the number 23 R&B hit "Shake." Stylistically, Face to Face (which Funky Town Grooves reissued on CD in 2011) isn't a major departure from Disco Nights or Two. There are glossy funk/dance grooves (including "You've Got the Floor," "Boogie Shoogie Feelin'," and the Chic-influenced "Shake"), and while Face to Face doesn't contain any Billy Stewart covers, GQ's proficiency with romantic soul ballads is evident on "Sad Girl" and "Dark Side of the Sun" (which has a Stylistics/Blue Magic type of feel and is quite Philadelphia-sounding). Meanwhile, "You Put Some Love in My life" is a romantic slow jam with a Caribbean flavor (the tune draws on both Jamaican reggae and Trinidadian calypso/steel band music). Although not as essential as Disco Nights or Two, Face to Face isn't a bad album at all, and the fact that Arista considered it a commercial disappointment doesn't make it any less enjoyable.

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