Various Artists

Smooth Grooves: Ladies' Men

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This edition of Rhino's Smooth Grooves series delivers what it claims -- 12 tracks from some of the greatest crooners in smooth, urban, quiet storm, and contemporary soul. That means there's Teddy Pendergrass, Keith Sweat, Al Green, Luther Vandross, Howard Hewett, and the Isley Brothers, along with Silk, Al B. Sure!, Tony Toni Tone, and other singers not quite as celebrated (but often quite talented). There's a good mix of big hits -- "It's Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next to Me," "Nite and Day," "I'm Still in Love With You," "Love Ballad," "Between the Sheets" -- and songs not quite as huge, but all quite good. The liner notes are rather silly, giving us the tongue-in-cheek "Ladies' Man's Calendar" instead of real notes, but the music is good and sets the mood, which will be enough for most listeners.

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