In the fall of 2002, R&B music was a changing landscape. However, that didn’t stop The Prom Queen Of Soul, a.k.a., Mrs. Whitney Houston, from releasing her fifth album Just Whitney on December 10th, 2022. Just Whitney was Houston’s fifth studio album and the first after she renewed her contract with Arista for $100 million.
Slow Jam Saturday: Michael DeLorenzo, Don’t Let Me Be
Growing up as a teen in the nineties, one of the highlights of Friday morning was talking on the school bus about what you watched on TV the night before. The crowd I hung out with usually discussed Fox’s Thursday-night line-up of Martin, Living Single, and New York Undercover.
When discussing New York Undercover, we would usually talk about the musical artist who made an appearance on the show performing at the club’s fictitious hangout spot, Natalie’s. The performances were so popular that an official soundtrack was released. New York Undercover: A Night At Natalie’s hit stores on January 13th, 1998. The show was in its fourth season, but the Hip Hop edge that carried the first three seasons was gone.
Nevertheless, it was great to finally have some of the show’s musical performances on disc. The soundtrack featured cover songs from R&B heavyweights such as Teena Marie, Gerald Levert, 112, and Mary J. Blige. However, one of the most surprising contributions to the album arrives courtesy of one of the show’s stars.
Michael DeLorenzo, who had the role of Detective Eddie Torres for the first three seasons, covered James Taylor’s 1972 hit “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight.” DeLorenzo was no stranger to musical talent, having displaying his dancing ability in the forgotten dance flick Fast Forward and Michael Jackson’s “Beat it” Video.
Looking back on the show’s vibe and after reading Michael’s name on the back of the disc, I thought he would cover The Isley Brothers’ version of the song. Instead, DeLorenzo stays closer to Taylor’s original vibe. DeLorenzo’s tenor comes across as natural in the music as he croons the lyrics:
“Do me wrong, do me right
Tell me lies, but hold me tight
Save your good-byes for the morning light
But don’t let me be lonely tonight.”
DeLorenzo clearly loves music, and the song is not a vanity project. While his cover of Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight “isn’t the best track on the album by any means, it did introduce audiences to another one of the actor’s talents and set the stage for his debut album, which would be released in 2009.
Final Grade: B+
More reviews to explorer
The current lineup of legendary R&B trio features founding members Eddie Levert, Walter Williams, Sr., and Eric Nolan Grant, who joined the group in 1997. Tonight I get to cross an item off my musical bucket list as I’m attending the Washington D.C. stop of the group’s Last Stop on the Love Train tour.
No matter the music genre, every group has a standout member who is destined for solo stardom. Lionel Richie was already three years into a successful solo career when his former band, The Commodores, released its eleventh album, Nightshift.