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: Freddie Jackson, At Christmas
By the time Freddie Jackson released his first Christmas album, At Christmas, in 1994, he had already established himself as one of the finest balladeers. He had released six albums to his credit. On the album’s opening track, One Wish, Jackson collaborated with Gordon Chambers and longtime collaborator Barry Eastmond. The trio created a midtempo bop that is a suitable introduction to the album.
Jackson is at his finest in “At Christmas,” the second song on the album. In this song, Jackson passionately sings about the joys of Christmas amid a lush production backing. In the song “Under The Mistletoe,” Mr. Jackson sings playful lyrics about his affection for someone special in his life.
The last original song on the project is the message song titled “Come on Home (For Christmas).” Jackson taps into the true spirit of the holiday. This song focuses on the importance of the holiday. The pandemic taught us that family is the most meaningful thing in life, and the message of this song is still relevant today. The song is terrific, and I could easily picture it in the background of an urban Christmas film in an ideal world.
Jackson also covers Christmas classics, including “This Christmas,” “The Christmas Song,” “White Christmas,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Silent Night,” and “O Holy Night,” throughout the project. Although Jackson sings these songs well, they could be more memorable. I would have preferred fewer covers and more originals. Nonetheless, there is enough here to offer a mild recommendation.
Final Grade: B-
At Christmas 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.”
One of the most talented men in indie music, Eric Roberson, kicked off his 30th-anniversary tour last night in Pittsburgh, so for this week’s Second Listen Sunday, I decided to revisit Mr. Roberson’s third album, The Vault 1.5, which hit record stores in 2003. As Erro fans know, Roberson initially hit the scene with the lovely ballad “The Moon” while studying at Howard University. Roberson’s first record deal didn’t go as planned, but not one to just lay down, Roberson continued to build a name for himself by writing for the likes of 112 and Will Smith. Additionally, Roberson collaborated with Jill Scott, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Cam’ron.