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: Subway, Good Times
Since Michael Bivins was a part of New Edition, he knew a thing or two about being a member of a young R&B group. Biv’s initial success came with Another Bad Creation, but that group did not last too long for whatever reason. With the help of the group Subway, Bivins attempted to take on the teen market again in the spring of 1995. We all remember “Fire” and how big that song was in our middle school days. However, Subway delivered a quality debut throughout with nine tracks exploring the fusion of soul, rap, and reggae that defines the Chicago scene in 1995. Subway aimed to take their listeners on a journey through the growing Chicago scene back then.
The nineties are largely remembered as a time when vocal groups with dazzling leads and smooth harmony dominated R&B music. However, Eric, Trerail, Roy, and Keith the members of Subway were able to prove that the strength of their music lies in the alliance of four members. Their debut album opens with “Chi-Town Ride,” which features guest vocalists Easy and Tung Twista. It is a nice start before we get three slow jams back to back.
The group’s album features production by Chad “Dr. Ceuss” Elliot and Herb Middleton, who has contributed the tracks (“The Better The Love” and “This Is Not A Goodbye”) that both avoids the characteristic of the R. Kelly-influenced, bump-n-grind new wave of R&B that was sweeping the nation as the time.
There’s no doubt that Subway’s swinging “Get Da Money” is a link to the West Coast scene on the album, and Phat Pocket’s Remix of that song wins the prize as the album’s standout track. We must also mention the tracks produced by late soul legend Gerald Levert (“This Lil’ Game We Play” and “Goodtimes”) that bring about a change of pace, emphasizing Subway’s raw vocal abilities and smooth style in an intriguing way.
Good Times provides a continuous musical flow through the combination of production expertise and raw talent.
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.