All The Way…Love, 1979
1. Turn The Music Up
2. Love Shot
3. This Love
4. Do What You Did
5. Kiss And Tell
6. Baby Your Eyes
7. Lock Me Up
8. On A Diet Of You
I Never Been Here Before, 1984 (12″)
1. I Never Been Here Before (Long Version)
2. I Never Been Here Before (Short Version)
Source: Vinyl LP, 12″
Format: V0 VBR MP3 [FLAC version available on request]
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Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs’s second album, released in 1979, saw the actor-turned-singer hooking up with another famed Motown producer, Freddie Perren (who can cite the Jackson 5 on his resume); it failed to chart, not to mention it didn’t quite reach the high points of the album prior. The feel is much more disco (if the opener “Turn The Music Up” wasn’t enough to convince you), and it’s hard to tell whether the lyrical content trades more on Lawrence’s comedic persona, or it’s the other way around. The end result is a lot more cheese than what was on the first album, particularly “Love Shot”; Perren’s production seems a few years behind the cutting edge of 1979 for the most part.
This is not to say that the album is a complete coaster; even with the album’s shortcomings, Lawrence manages to keep it either very fun or very tasteful. “Turn The Music Up” walks the line of disco-by-the-numbers, until Lawrence starts a familiar “party call” after which the bassline (courtesy of James Jamerson, Jr.) takes a decidedly springy turn. The closer “On A Diet Of You” boasts schlocky lyrics, but it actually comes together thanks to Lawrence’s delivery — you can almost imagine Freddie “Boom Boom” Washington singing them in-character. The most enjoyable tracks on the album, “Baby Your Eyes” (co-written by Jacobs) and “Lock Me Up” follow one another, with the latter really being an example of what this album could (and should) have been. “Lock Me Up” sounds like something you’d have playing in the 8-track while pulling up in your 442 Cutlass (or Cutlass Cruiser, if you’re really cool), getting ready to begin your night on the town. Of all the tracks, it sounds most like it’s “of the moment”.
Also bundled here is a 1984 single, the last recording with Jacobs’s name attached as primary artist. “I Never Been Here Before” is a fine slice of mid-’80s “Jheri Curl” funk, produced by Crusaders alum Wayne Henderson. Unlike much of his second album, this sort of music suits Lawrence’s voice perfectly. I once read that Rick James was very much upset with Lawrence (who had shown up to one of his concerts) because Rick had loaned him a sum of money that he didn’t pay back; one had to wonder if Lawrence used the money to fund the studio time to record this last chance at a hit.