From late 1982 through 1985, DeBarge were a regular presence on the singles charts. They also placed three albums in the Top Five of the R&B chart -- all of which crossed into the Top 40 of the Billboard 200. While the siblings have been the subject of a few hits compilations, their catalog was otherwise neglected for decades, until Hip-O Select released this thorough anthology. Discs one and two of Time Will Reveal: The Complete Motown Albums contain the four DeBarge albums: The DeBarges (the undervalued if somewhat tepid debut), All This Love (the 1982 breakthrough featuring “I Like It” and the title track), In a Special Way (one of the finest albums of the early ‘80s), and Rhythm of the Night (the heavily synthesized patchwork finale). Disc three collects 12” mixes, a flowery and inferior alternate mix of “All This Love,” and four instrumental versions. What gets lost in the DeBarge family drama and image -- the glamorous clothes, elaborate hairstyles, and suspect facial hair -- is that they wrote, produced, and arranged the majority of their material and all of their best work. Their several hits, along with album cuts like “Strange Romance,” “Stay with Me,” and “A Dream,” are among the most heavenly, impeccably constructed pop-R&B music of any era. Odds are good that 2Pac, the Notorious B.I.G., Blackstreet, and Ashanti didn’t feel guilty about making hits with DeBarge-sampling records. Therefore, no listener should ever feel guilty about deriving pleasure from the source.
Time Will Reveal: The Complete Motown Albums Review
by Andy Kellman
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2
Track Listing - Disc 3