For this week’s Second Listen Sunday, I decided to visit the Buckeye State and pay homage to The Rude Boys. The Cleveland-based quartet consisted of Larry Marcus, Melvin Sephus, Edward Lee “Buddy” Banks, and Joe Little III. Initially breaking onto the scene in 1990 with the hits “Written All Over Your Face” and “Are You Lonely For Me” from their debut, they wasted no time returning to the studio.
Slow Jam Saturday : Charlie Wilson, Without You
Charlie Wilson was already an established star in his own right when “Without You,” the first single from his second solo album, Bridging the Gap, was released in the summer of 2000. At the turn of the 21st Century, Wilson was still touring with his group The Gap Band and singing hooks on numerous songs from rappers. Hip Hop heads can undoubtedly recall Wilson working with Snoop Dogg on four tracks from the rapper’s sophomore album, The Doggfather. Wilson could have easily made a living just singing hooks for the second part of his career. However, the allure of a solo career was calling.
Wilson had previously released his debut 1992’s You Turn My Life Around, which failed to offer any charting singles. Wilson decided it was time for a change and took a different approach for the lead single for his second solo project. Laney Stewart served as the producer of the beautiful ballad, which is a song about lost love. Everyone can relate to the passion that Wilson’s tenor emotes as he croons :
“It feels like a lifetime, a thousand days have passed by
Since I held you close to me
If I could see that smile from my friend
I know that I could live again
I need you here with me
Heaven knows what to say
Even though for right now you’re so far away
I hope and I pray
Somewhere in your heart I’ll always stay
Girl, lately my sun doesn’t shine without you
Never noticed what it feels like to be without you
Feels like I took my last step and my last breath in
my life ending
Had to say just what I was feeling, girl
Cause my sun doesn’t shine, sun doesn’t shine without you”.
When the song was released, I lived down south, so I remember just how much airplay the song was receiving. While Bridging the Gap wouldn’t entirely give Wilson the solo breakthrough he deserved (that would happen five years later), “Without You” is one of his signature songs and worth revisiting.
Final Grade: B+
“Without You” from Bridging the Gap is available on all streaming platforms.
More reviews to explorer
Valentine’s Day 2024 may have come and gone, but I still plan to use highlight songs with the V-word for February’s Slow Jam Saturday. The artist I chose is a southern gentleman by the name of Lloyd. Initially breaking onto the scene as a member of the preteen-boy band N-Toon, Lloyd’s solo career kicked off in 2004 with the hit “Southside.”
As we continue to celebrate the month of love, I chose “Valentine by Ryan Leslie as the second song with the word valentine for February’s Slow Jam Saturday. Leslie broke into the music industry in 2003, writing hits for Beyoncé and New Edition. Leslie released the singles “The Way That U Move Girl” and “Used 2 Be” featuring Fabolous. However, his debut album was never officially released due to creative differences with his record label. In late 2007, Leslie finally broke through with the bop “Diamond Girl,” and his self-titled album would finally hit record stores on February 10, 2009. Leslie also succeeded with the follow-up singles “Addiction” and “How It Was Supposed to Be.” Surprisingly, though, Leslie didn’t drop “Valentine” as the fourth single, which would have timed perfectly with the album release date.