Various Artists

Slow Jams: The Timeless Collection, Vol. 8

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This is the eighth entry of the popular series. As 1996's Slow Jams, Vol. 7 was an uneven entry, Vol. 8 was released in early 2001 and was well worth the wait. This 13-song set deftly mixes essential quiet storm staples from the years 1972-1988. More so than the other volumes, the efforts from Slow Jams: The Timeless Collection, Vol. 8 all share luxurious productions, as all of the tracks in their entirety resemble a radio set. On their own the songs work well, too, as a lot of them are rare but much-loved songs. The gossamer track, "Calling All Girls" from Switch, is airy and introspective, featuring vocals of Phillip Ingram and Bobby DeBarge's great emotive falsetto. E.U.'s proficient Cameo ringer, "Taste of Your Love," comes back even stronger than it was during its release. The Dramatics' "Treat Me Right" is tough-minded, with synth fills no one else caught up to until two years later. Shirley Murdock's "Go on Without You" has a great vocal and Roger Troutman's inventive production. That song's sheer momentum makes the potentially irritating "Thanks for My Child" from Cheryl "Pepsii" Riley stronger due to the close proximity. The last track is the Futures' 1972 knock-down, drag-out weeper "Love Is Here," which boasts the unearthly bass and falsetto interplay that many well-known groups couldn't touch. Vol. 8 also features essentials from Parris, the Masqueraders, and the Stylistics, and is a must for lovers of '70s and '80s R&B ballads.

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