1. Private Party
2. Do You Look That Good In The Morning?
3. Sex Maniac
4. The Lady Killer
5. Don’t Knock It (Until You Try It)
6. Hangin’ Out At The Mall
7. Because Of You
8. Too Young
Source: Vinyl LP
Format: VBR V0 MP3, FLAC
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Following Second To Nunn in 1983 comes Private Party, singer/songwriter Bobby Nunn’s sophomore effort for Motown Records. While waiting for Stevie Wonder’s Hotter Than July follow up, the largest album for Motown that year likely was Lionel Richie’s Can’t Slow Down, which was a world wide smash. Rick James was still a strong performer with the more-mechanical Cold Blooded, and yet, there were a lot of albums they released which stayed under their respective eclipses, including Syreeta’s The Spell (reviewed earlier on the Vault), The Commodores’ Commodores 13, and this one. Resisting the lures of crossover success, Bobby Nunn returned with a more streetwise funk affair for his second album.
The production team of Nunn and Winston Monseque return for Private Party, and it’s clear from the first sounds you hear of the album’s title track on Side 1, that the album is in a more synthesized funk mode; for this album, Nunn plays nearly everything himself, including the drum machines (the exception was the horns employed on “Sex Maniac”, “The Lady Killer”, and “Too Young” from labelmates Ozone). Like Second To Nunn, most of the songs are either solely written by or co-written by Nunn, and his flair for tight grooves, with a pinch of humor shine through this album. Following this is the brilliant “Do You Look That Good In The Morning?”, an air-tight synth-and-drum machine groove that would fit in with the early work of The System or The Time, with Nunn’s dual-layered falsetto singing. Inexplicably, this was not released as a single (though there were promos of this song released, perhaps for local record stations that recognized this). “Don’t Knock It (Until You Try It)”, which really does sound a lot like The System’s synthed-out grooves, was released as a single, however. “Hangin’ Out At The Mall” is a hilarious song, likely aimed at a younger audience than the rest of the album, featuring labelmate Tata Vega, not as a singer, but the voice of the overbearing mother of the song’s protagonist (this must be heard to be believed). There’s something to be said about the paranoia of “The Lady Killer” (this was common in ’80s grooves for some reason; thematically it brings O’Bryan’s “The Gigolo” to mind), and the ballad “Because Of You” follows “The Party’s Over”‘s formula as the lone ballad in a sea of funk.
This album saw a(n unauthorized) CD release by Bluebird Records sometime in the last decade or so; the source material was much likely a vinyl like this one, and the transfer was not very well done at all (some very audible vinyl noise could be heard, for example); purchase is not recommended unless it’s dirt cheap and you’re looking for an easy way to hear this album. With the digital resurfacing of some much neglected albums, perhaps the ever-stingy Universal Music Group will let some of Motown’s hidden gems out to play sometime. It was reported that Nunn did record a follow up to this album, entitled Fresh, that was shelved. Hearing this, it would make for an interesting listen. As such, Private Party stands as Nunn’s last album as a solo artist; afterward he fell behind the scenes as an in-demand songwriter. One of his biggest hits was “Rocket 2U”, intended for old friends in Earth, Wind, and Fire, but ended up in the hands of The Jets, who took it to Top 5 R&B.