Roy Ayers / Roy Ayers Ubiquity


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Although Lifeline captures Roy Ayers in creative freefall, his commercial prospects never looked brighter. The record's clear highlight, "Running Away," proved a monster club hit, galvanized by Ayers' eccentric vocal, an infectious melody and an absolutely killer bassline, but the remainder of the LP settles for tepid hooks, bland arrangements, and more cheap cosmetics than a two-dollar hooker. Absent the ambition and ingenuity of early Ubiquity efforts, Lifeline is virtually indistinguishable from your average disco record, a shocking decline for a musician of Ayers' caliber. Overbaked production smothers by-the-numbers entries like "Sanctified Feeling" and "Gotta Find a Lover," while the title cut relies on electronic gimmickry in favor of organic energy. Worst of all, far more disappointing Ayers efforts were still to come. [The CD was also released with a bonus track.]

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