Freddie Jackson was part of the sophisticated soul invasion of the '80s that included Anita Baker and Luther Vandross. But while Baker and Vandross followed platinum album with platinum album into the '90s, Jackson's own megahit streak -- which began with the Rock Me Tonight album -- didn't carry over into the next decade. He makes his Scotti Brothers debut with Private Party, which includes the Top 25 R&B single "Rub Up Against You," produced by Gerald Levert and Tony Nicholas. For the bulk of the production of the album, Jackson is reunited with producer Barry J. Eastmond, who played a significant role on his platinum debut. Most of the material falls in the "let's shower together" category, though it must be pointed out that the content never goes into the overly graphic area of a lot of modern R&B. The second single, "(I Want To) Thank You," is a nice change of pace with its simple sentiment of appreciation. "I Tried My Best" tells of a fading love affair: "I tried my best to be a good friend/All of the kisses I used to know/Suddenly they've all turned cold." On the next track, Jackson is still suffering through the pain on "No One Else." But he's back on his feet with the midtempo "Lay Your Love on Me." "Teach Me" has one of Jackson's best performances ever. Yasha Barjona produces the elegant ballad "Once in a While," an appropriate album closer. Freddie Jackson's romantic balladeering is, for the most part, not the kind of material you would find at the top of the charts these days. And that's a shame.
Private Party Review
by Ed Hogan