There was a singer who shall remain nameless set the tone for the nineties slow jams. However as nineties R&B fans know there were tons of singers who provided quality albums and tracks when it came to making a playlist via audiocassette. Lincoln Browder, better known as Link, was one of the singers.
Second Listen Sunday : Switch, Switch
Earlier this week, Tommy DeBarge of R&B Band Switch, and the famous musical family, DeBarge, was laid to rest. I wanted to look back at Tommy’s Motown debut with his group Switch. The group was not a stranger to the industry, having previously recorded as White Heat and Hot Ice. Switch arrived in record stores on June 17th, 1978. The group members were Greg Williams, Philip Ingram, Jody Sims, Eddie Fluellen, and the DeBarge Brothers, Bobby, and Tommy.
One of the great things about Switch was that everyone’s talent was evident and vital to the band’s overall sound. Bobby DeBarge and Philip Ingram primarily handled lead vocals, while the remaining members played instruments and backing vocals.
Switch opens with the lush “I Wanna Be with You” before moving into the legendary “There’ll Never Be.” From the song’s opening harmony to Tommy’s cold bass line rift, the song is pure R&B heaven. Furthermore, the song’s message can be either a Gospel song or an R&B track.
One of my all-time favorite songs, “I Wanna Be Closer,” is up next. A perfect blend of voices of Philip and Bobby, and comes from the pen of Jermaine Jackson. Then, of course, the band in the background with Gregory Williams on keys, Jody Sims on the drums, and Tommy on guitar. The song is better than some people’s entire catalogs. “It’s So Real” is another excellent ballad and a strong album track.
Switch was not just about the ballads, as the group also knew how to party. There is an excellent trilogy of dance floor tracks in “We Like to Party…Come On”, “Fever,” and “You Pulled a Switch.”
Clocking in at only thirty-two minutes and featuring just eight songs, Switch is one album that all aspiring musicians and singers should study.
Final Grade: A-
Switch is available on all streaming platforms.
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