Gary Brown

Rhythm or Romance

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Thanks to vocalists like Freddie Jackson and Meli'sa Morgan, Capitol had a reputation for providing its share of romantic urban contemporary in the 1980s and early 1990s. In 1992, Capitol went after the market for adult-oriented R&B with Gary Brown's Rhythm or Romance, which is decent more often than not and was produced by Brown, Paul Jackson, Jr., and Barry J. Eastmond (among others). The CD includes a few funky, hip-hop-ish numbers that draw on the more uptempo hits of Bobby Brown and Johnny Gill (both of whom were huge in the early 1990s), including "Your Love" and the Vassal Benford-produced title track. But for the most part, Rhythm or Romance caters to the market for romantic R&B -- not a new jack swing or hip-hop audience. While Brown's funkier numbers tend to be routine and pedestrian, romantic items like "Don't Make Me Beg Tonight," "Love, Need and Want You," and "Love, Honor and Obey" (a duet with singer D'atra Hicks) are fairly memorable. Rhythm or Romance isn't a masterpiece, but despite its flaws and shortcomings, the album shows that Brown had potential.

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