Sly & Robbie


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Friends relies a little too much on the polished reggae-pop of Maxi Priest and UB40, both of whom make guest appearences on the disc. Since Sly & Robbie make their sultry grooves sound effortless, they can make even the slick pop of Lionel Richie's "Penny Lover" and the Mick Hucknall duet "Night Nurse" sound appealing, and they can prevent "Theme From 'Mission Impossible'" from sounding kitschy. Nevertheless, these songs bog down the record, especially when compared to the covers that work -- a seductive take on Cole Porter's "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To" and a ripping version of the Stones' "Satisfaction." Such high points are surrounded by amiable, undistinctive filler that never quite ruins the album, but prevents it from really taking off.

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