Vernon Burch

Steppin' Out

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Vernon Burch entered the 1980s with Steppin' Out, which was his third album for Casablanca's Chocolate City label and his fifth solo album overall. Like 1979's Get Up, this 1980 LP was produced by drummer James E. Gadson. But while Get Up was enjoyable, Steppin' Out is generally disappointing. The album contains a few decent tracks, including the Stevie Wonder-ish "Baby Love" and the soul ballad "Family and Friends" (which hints at the Philadelphia International sound and isn't unlike the sort of ballads that the O'Jays and Teddy Pendergrass were providing at the time). But much of the dance-oriented material is routine and pedestrian; funk-dance tracks like "Stiffin' Stuffin' Ain't Sho Nuffin'," "Hot and Sexy," and "Fun City" aren't horrible, although they're definitely mediocre. In 1980, Burch was no doubt hoping that Steppin' Out would be the big commercial breakthrough he had been waiting for, but like his previous Chocolate City releases, it enjoyed very little attention and ended up in the cutout bins. This LP is only recommended to completists.

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