Lionel Richie – Lionel Richie (1982/2015) [Qobuz 24bit/192kHz]

Lionel Richie – Lionel Richie (1982/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz  | Time – 00:38:04 minutes | 1,62 GB | Genre: Soul, Funk, R&B
Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | © Motown Records
Recorded: 1981-82 at A&M Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA.

Lionel Richie is forever enshrined in the popular imagination for his ballads, but his first solo album is more wide-ranging than that. Besides the three hit singles (‘Truly’ and ‘My Love’ are classic Richie ballads, while the sleek and slightly more uptempo ‘You Are’ is possibly Richie’s finest solo single), „Lionel Richie“ focuses primarily on glossy early ’80s dance pop/R&B. Richie and Commodores producer James Anthony Carmichael move beyond that band’s beginnings as a loose, horn-led funk group, using synths and bell-like electric pianos over metronomic (but not stiff or artificial) rhythm tracks. Although „Lionel Richie“ came out several months prior to Thriller, that album is a very close comparison sonically; slick pop-R&B grooves like ‘Serves You Right’ and ‘Tell Me’ have a similar mix of Top 40 smarts and soulful heart.

Lionel Richie’s solo career began while he was still in the Commodores, as he wrote and sang (as a duet with Diana Ross) the theme to the Brooke Shields romance Endless Love, which became a bigger hit than any of the group’s singles, thereby setting the stage for his departure and his 1982 self-titled solo debut. He wasn’t working in unfamiliar territory, or with new musicians. the Commodores decided to work as their own band, so their producer, James Anthony Carmichael, was able to devote his energy to working on Richie’s album. Using the pop-crossover ballad style of “Endless Love,” “Three Times a Lady,” and “Easy” as their template, the duo turned Lionel Richie into a sleek, state-of-the-art record that, at its best, provides some irresistible pop pleasures. The key to its success — and the reason it was scorned by some Commodores fans — is that Richie doesn’t even make a pretense of funk here, leaving behind the loose, elastic grooves of his previous bands (a move that makes sense, since his voice never suited that style particularly well), choosing to concentrate on ballads and sparkly mid-tempo pop, peppered with a few stylish dance grooves. The ballads, of course, provided two big hits with “My Love” and “Truly,” two numbers that illustrate that he was moving ever-closer to mainstream pop, since these are unapologetic AOR slow-dance tunes. The other big hit, “You Are,” is an effervescent, wonderful pop tune that showcases Richie at his sunniest; it’s one of his greatest singles. Throughout the first part of the record, the dance numbers are served up and they’re very good — “Serves You Right” has a shiny, propulsive groove, while “Tell Me” jams nicely. After “You Are,” the record bogs down with a couple of ballads that are on the wrong side of adult contemporary — too formless, too hookless to really catch hold — but they don’t hurt the first seven songs, which form a dynamic mainstream pop-soul record, one of the best the early ’80s had to offer. It’s the sound of Lionel Richie finding his solo voice, and, the next time out, he knew how to use it even better than he does here. -Stephen Thomas Erlewine

1. Serves You Right 05:09
2. Wandering Stranger 05:37
3. Tell Me 05:28
4. My Love 04:07
5. Round And Round 04:55
6. Truly 03:23
7. You Are 05:01
8. You Mean More To Me 03:04
9. Just Put Some Love In Your Heart 01:24

Lionel Richie, vocals, piano
Joe Walsh, Richie Zito, guitar
Timothy May, Fred Tackett, acoustic guitar
David Cochrane, guitars, saxophone, piano, bass synthesizer, bass, background vocals
Darrell Jones, Paul Jackson, Jr., guitar
Le Vant, G., harp
Gary Herbig, woodwinds, saxophone
Donald Ashworth, woodwinds
E. Cipriano, L. Williams, woodwinds
E. Watts, W. Green, saxophone
B. Findlay, G.A. Grant, W. Lucning, Jerry Hey, W. Johnson, Warren Luening, trumpet
Dave Rockin Duke, James Atkinson, Richard Perissi, Henry Sigismonti, A. Maebe, Brian O’Connor, French horn
Lew McCreary, William Frank ‘Bill’ Reichenbach Jr., trombone
Nathan East, bass
Michael Lang, piano, Fender Rhodes piano
James Anthony Carmichael, celesta
Clarence McDonald, Fender Rhodes piano
William Payne, Fender Rhodes piano
Michael Boddicker, synthesizer, vocoder
Arni Egilsson, Buell Neidlinger, double bass
Nathan Watts, Joe Chemay, bass
John ‘J. R.’ Robinson, Paul Liem, Leon ‘Ndugu’ Chancler, drums
Richard Schlosser, Leonard Castro, Paulinho Da Costa, percussion
Jimmy Connors, Deborah Thomas, Howard Kenny, Kin Vassy, Richard Marx, Terry Williams, background vocals



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