Philip Bailey – Inside Out –
Review by RJM – Rating:Devoted Earth, Wind & Fire fans had picked up on a trend. Ever since their inception in 1971, EWF was pumping out approximately one album per year. Even after they disbanded in 1983, they continued their one per year output in the form of solo albums by Maurice White and Philip Bailey. 1986 was no exception with Philip Bailey’s third solo project «Inside Out».
Niles Rodgers, originally of the disco group Chic, came on board as producer. Niles was hot in the early to mid 1980s, producing albums like David Bowie’s 1983 monster hit «Let’s Dance» and Al Jarreau’s «L Is For Lover» in 1986 (and a lot of other pop not worth mentioning).
Although «Inside Out» is much more even than Philip’s previous album, «Chinese Wall», it was a definite step backwards for his solo career. The vocal arrangements on «Inside Out» are mostly better than «Chinese Wall», but the music sure isn’t – it is less spontaneous and daring, more forced and preconceived.
The only single released from «Inside Out» was «State Of The Heart», which came and went in the blink of an eye. Philip continued trying to clone successful singles from the preceding album by bringing Phil Collins back for «Back It Up» (which also featured Jeff Beck on guitar), and, as it turns out, the best cut on the album, «Because Of You». These were clearly cut from the «Easy Lover» and «Walking On The Chinese Wall» templates, respectively. One may wonder why no telephone company picked up on the gimmicky «Long Distance Love», where Philip actually performs nicely.
«The Day Will Come» and «Don’t Leave Me Baby» have good moments, but things get a bit mundane around «Echo My Heart» and «Take This With You». A definite flaw on «Inside Out» is that some of the cuts go on too long. Another problem is displayed on the filler «Welcome To The Club» and «Special Effect»; it’s really a stretch to consider this Philip Bailey music.
The clear implication of Philip’s first three projects was that the huge commercial success of «Easy Lover» was a fluke. It was time to be re-absorbed into the fold, so Philip contacted his friend Maurice White.
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