Numerous R&B groups have fallen into obscurity following the departure of the lead singer. One such group was Public Announcement which collaborated with a disgraced R&B singer for a 1992 project.
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.
More reviews to explorer
R&B quartet Dru Hill was basking in the success of their sophomore album Enter the Dru and preparing to embark on its supporting tour when they appeared on the concept album Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida.
Having previously revisited the late great Jesse Powell’s first, third and fourth albums, I wanted to bring on a music head to discuss Powell’s second album, Bout It. Arriving in stores on September 8, 1998, Powell’s sophomore album featured the hit song “You”. While R&B fans first heard the song on Powell’s debut, it was officially a single on this album.