Philip Bailey: Philip Bailey –
Produced by Philip Bailey, Chuckii Booker, Robert Brookins, John Paris, Brian McKnight,
PM Dawn, Wayman Tinsdale, and Roxanne Seeman.
Arranged by Philip Bailey, Chuckii Booker, Bill Meyers, Max Ellen, Wayman Tinsdale,
Prince Be, and Eddie Del Barrio.
Review by RJM – Rating:
|Even though Philip Bailey had enjoyed success in his
gospel career, he resurfaced in 1994 to release his fourth secular solo project eight
years after 1986’s "Inside Out". This self-titled album is my choice among
Philip’s 4 solo projects I’ve heard, barely edging out "Chinese Wall" because
it’s much more even. There’s really nothing that I dislike on "Philip Bailey",
although the chorus of "Crazy Things You Do For Love" does come close.
Overall, this is the most soulful of Philip’s solos, which is another reason it’s my favorite; I just like this kind of music better than the variety represented by his previous 3 albums. Also, "Philip Bailey" seems more like his own project, bringing people in to help him produce it, rather than turning it over to a single producer as was done in his previous three solo albums. Philip co-wrote all but 4 of the 12 cuts, and pop-soul star Brian McKnight wrote these other four.
Despite the fact that the electronics makes it a bit difficult to listen to the whole album in one sitting, don’t let the technology of "Philip Bailey" scare you off. The winners on this album are "Stay Right Here" in spite of its constant beat and tempo, and the only wholly (unfortunately) acoustic entry, "Diamond Just Like You", which features PM Dawn. "Just Like Summer" is nice, as is the duet with Natirah Ali, "Yours". Any semi-acoustical breaks are appreciated. EW&F regular guitarist Sheldon Reynolds does backing vocals on "Stay Right Here" and "Something’s Missing", and saxist Scott Mayo makes his first appearance in the EW&F universe on "I’m Ready".
The real standout and only single released on "Philip Bailey" is Brian McKnight’s soulful "Here With Me". I’ve found the CD single of "Here With Me" featuring five different versions. Apparently, Mr. Dallas Austin went berserk in the mixing room. I think I’ll wait for the Waco Houston remix.
The strength of this album is within the vocal arrangements and catchy choruses, but certainly not the music. Overall, "Philip Bailey" is nice contemporary Black pop, with Philip’s voice and some of his arrangements superimposed-nothing really spectacular. It went nowhere on the charts, but this may be another manifestation of the problem all of his solo work besides "Easy Lover" has encountered. Philip may be the vocalist the most people have heard while not knowing his name.
Philip got help from a bunch of people to produce this album, and I often wonder why he never got Maurice White to produce his solo works, and maybe do some background vocals. Would we have to call such a product EW&F?
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