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.
Second Listen Sunday : Daron Jones, The Unofficial Diary of Daron Jones
Daron Jones made a name for himself in nineties R&b as a member of 112, in addition to writing songs for the likes of Usher, Pink, and Jamie Foxx. In 2010 five years after the release of 112’s fifth album, Mr. Jones released his first solo album, Uncensored. However, I wanted to look at one of Daron’s cover EPs this week.
Arriving on platforms in 2015, The Unofficial Diary of Daron Jones allowed the singer to show off his baritone vocals and piano skills. Mr. Jones opens the EP with the interlude “Gift To You,” which transitions into a commendable cover of Donny Hathaway’s “A Song For You.” Kudos to Mr. Jones for making the song his own and never trying to out-sing Donny.
Two Stevie Wonder songs, “Overjoyed” and “All Is Fair in Love,” sound good. But the fundamental strong points are in his versions of “Tender Love” by Force MDs and “Never Felt This Way” by Brian McKnight. Both songs were already piano-driven ballads, so Daron has a chance to show out.
“Zoom” by The Commodores closes out the EP, and Jones evokes the church feel of the original song. The only minor misstep on the EP is The Carpenter’s “Superstar,” which Luther Vandross already claimed back in the early eighties. Jones sounds find on the song; I wish he would have given a different Luther song.
Nevertheless, this is a fine EP of covers worth a listen to.
Final Grade: B
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.