Ray Parker, Jr. & Raydio / Ray Parker, Jr.

Two Places at the Same Time

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The first album billed to Ray Parker, Jr. & Raydio, Two Places at the Same Time -- like Raydio and Rock On -- reached the Top Ten of Billboard's Soul LPs chart and went gold. It's formatted the same way, too. There are eight snappy songs, ranging from candy-coated ballads to light pop-funk, which concern partying, romance, and sex. Three singles charted. The title track, not as fully developed as the following year's bigger ballad "A Woman Needs Love," has Parker swapping verses with Arnell Carmichael over pleasant, functional backing. Despite lifting liberally from past hits "Jack and Jill" and "You Can't Change That," "Can't Keep Crying" entered the Top 60. The funk instrumental "For Those Who Like to Groove" -- basically a variation on Funkadelic's "One Nation Under a Groove" with a little foreshadowing to Parker's Cheryl Lynn collaboration "In the Night" -- peaked at number 14. A pair of front-loaded knockouts, along with the slow groove "Tonight's the Night" (co-written with Herbie Hancock and redone for his 1981 album Magic Windows), eclipse the charting singles. They help make Two Places, as unassuming and derivative as it is, one of 1980's better R&B albums. Throughout the same year, Parker's name could be seen on several new releases -- including Hancock's Monster, Michael Henderson's Wide Receiver, LaToya Jackson's self-titled album, and Boz Scaggs' Middle Man -- as a songwriter, producer, and musician. [Funky Town Grooves' 2012 reissue adds the 12" mix of "It's Time to Party Now."]

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