Various Artists

Slow Jams: The Timeless Collection, Vol. 5

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Complied by popular DJ Kevin James, this is the fifth volume of the popular compilation series. This, like the other sets, puts the spotlight on slow and romantic songs from the ‘70s and ‘80s. Unlike the other volumes, the continuity is slightly off. While Volume 4 had four of five classics that made it a smooth listen, Volume 5 doesn't have the same thoughtful programming. Tracks like "When You Touch Me" from Skyy and Con Funk Shun's "Straight from the Heart" are two of the more boring offerings from early-‘80s R&B. But make no mistake, Volume 5 does offer some classic songs. The blissful "You're the Best Thing in My Life from the Dramatics is one of their sweeter songs with an ethereal vocal from Ron Banks. The Manhattans' "Let's Start All Over Again" has a customary smooth lead from Gerald Alston as well as a woofer vibrating bass vocal from William "Blue" Lovett. For this volume, the two best tracks have disparate styles and come from two different decades. Natural Four's "Can This Be Real" from 1974 has the great mix of quirky musicianship, committed vocals, and emotive guitar work. 1982's "My First Love" from Rene & Angela, is an intelligent and melancholy track that might put a listener in a trance. Some of the tracks here are less than impressive. Maze's "Reason" is one of their more somnolent tracks. Songs from War, Teddy Pendergrass, and One Way don't rank with their best work. Slow Jams: The Timeless Collection, Vol. 5 doesn't offer cohesion but it does have essential, quiet storm staples.

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