Jersey Ave.

Jersey Ave.

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AllMusic Review by

If an A&R person was searching for potential soul stars in the 1960s and 1970s, one of the best places to look was the African-American church. R&B has changed a lot since then, but black churches (AME, Baptist, and otherwise) can still be counted on to nurture talented vocalists. Some black church singers will stick to gospel, but others, like Jersey Ave., will inevitably go secular. This male vocal quartet is actually the gospel group LaMore, which provided an album for Gospocentric in 1995 but changed its name to Jersey Ave. after embracing secular R&B. A generally decent urban contemporary effort along the lines of Boyz II Men and All-4-One, this CD is the group's first album as Jersey Ave. While the production is very hip-hop-influenced, Jersey Ave. doesn't inundate listeners with rapping. Romantic slow jams are dominant, although things get funkier on "Shorty" and "Tell Me Why." Overall, the material is pleasant without being mind-blowing but, occasionally, Jersey Ave. soars instead of merely coasting. The single "I Wonder Why," for example, is a poignant gem that finds a young man begging the mother of his child (who has custody) not to keep him from seeing the kid -- he wants to do the right thing and try to be a good parent, but will she let him? Most of the other tracks aren't in a class with that treasure but, while this CD isn't perfect, it still leaves listeners with the impression that Jersey Ave. has much potential as a secular R&B act.

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