Various Artists

Gold: Quiet Storm

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One could say that no quiet storm compilation lacking Minnie Riperton's "Inside My Love," Rick James and Teena Marie's "Fire and Desire," or Patti Austin and James Ingram's "Baby, Come to Me" is complete. But there's simply no way to make a definitive two-disc compilation of '70s and early-'80s R&B ballads. When it comes to being representative of the quiet storm format, however, this set from Hip-O hits just about all the right spots. It covers chart-toppers and cult favorites alike, with no song undeserving of inclusion. Like most of the other titles in the Gold series, it's put together thoughtfully -- two classics written by Michael Henderson (Norman Connors' MH-fronted "You Are My Starship" and the Dramatics' "Be My Girl") are placed back-to-back, for instance, and there's a smooth transition from the material featuring full-band arrangements with strings to drum machines and synthesizers. The lasting value of these songs isn't merely evident in the specialty programs that continue to float through late-night and early-morning airwaves; many of the selections have been either sampled or covered, like the Gap Band's "Yearning for Your Love" (covered by Guy), Rose Royce's "I Wanna Get Next to You" (covered by Christión), the Isley Brothers' "Between the Sheets" (sampled for Notorious B.I.G.'s "Big Poppa"), and Bobby Caldwell's "What You Won't Do for Love" (sampled for Aaliyah's "Age Ain't Nothing But a Number").

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