1. I’ve Been Watching You (Jamie’s Girl)
2. A Real Man
3. I Belong To You
4. A Gentleman
5. Older Woman, Younger Man
6. Feel My Eyes
7. Glamour Boy
8. She’s My Little Star
9. I Want To Touch You
Source: Vinyl LP
Format: VBR V0 MP3 (FLAC Lossless Format Available On Request)
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Chicago-based singer/songwriter/musician Randy Hall’s 1984 debut was produced by Ray Parker, Jr., who was riding high as a solo artist at the time over the success of the theme song of the movie Ghostbusters. While long-time fans of Ray’s music saw the song as yet another sign Ray was abandoning R&B altogether, this project helped to reassure his diehard fans that he was still in their corner.
The most surprising thing about this album, is that Ray Parker Jr. has no writing credits on this album whatsoever; Randy Hall’s hand is all over this record, playing the guitar and other instruments, writing or co-writing all the songs. Yet, the “Parker” gold is all over this record in the arrangements, especially. “A Gentleman” especially sounds like something Ray Parker, Jr. wrote — “Mr. Telephone Man” specifically. “Feel My Eyes” sounds like a prototype version of “I Don’t Think That Woman Should Sleep Alone”, one of Parker’s “return to R&B” songs in the latter half of the 1980s. However, the heavy influence of the “Raydio” sound on this record notwithstanding, Hall’s songwriting is very strong, particularly on the opener, the irresistible “I’ve Been Watching You (Jamie’s Girl)”. “Jamie’s Girl” casts such a shadow on the rest of the record, you almost want to take the needle off after hearing it, that it is such a strong single. However, doing so would not do Randy Hall justice; his voice, unique as it is, has a way of reminding you of a number of other singers at different points in time. Hall’s voice is much more dynamic than his producer/mentor — somehow managing to channel Morris Day, Michael Jackson, Prince, Michael McDonald even — not to mention Ray Parker, Jr. himself on the humorous song “Older Woman, Younger Man” to the point that, the lyrical content even makes you wonder if Ray didn’t ghostwrite it. Given the visibility of “reference tracks” and the like afforded the Internet age, one couldn’t be surprised to know if it really was the case.
All in all, I Belong To You is a respectable effort from a musician, who seems to embody everything mid-’80s R&B is about — even down to the look — lighter skinned, with the Jheri Curl mullet, perfectly maintained mustache and a convincing vocal range reaching into the falsetto. Ray Parker Jr.’s production only sweetens the pot; only 3 tracks reach into “crossover” territory (“A Real Man”, “A Gentleman”, and “Glamour Boy” — featuring some rather entertaining but very 1980s guitar playing from Hall himself) and the rest are straight up and uncompromised.