Monday, May 16, 2016

Emanuel Rahiem-Always Be Around (1991)


That's the truth—me always being around somewhere in the old-school music circuit (back to the early 90's again, in fact, for the second post in a row so far). That 'always be around' phrase, however, holds a different and more romantically-charged significance for my next music guest to grace "The Music Spectrum": Emanuel Raheim. The name didn't hit me right away, but I'd soon realize that this guy was the lead singer of the late 70's/early 80's disco group GQ, responsible for the memorable disco classic—and one of my all-time personal favorite disco jams—"Disco Nights". It's always a pleasure to hear what these artists sound like once they've left a group to pursue a solo career, and I must say that a trip around the old-school block with Mr. Raheim made for quite the late-evening joyride for me. And there's quite a few stops here along this Emanuel Raheim joyride that I could quite literally ride along to through the evening and until the morning light. " Driftin' ": Well, the lyrics talking about the lady drifting away from his love may not sound so good, but boy does the music and its uptempo groove sure sound deliciously good! Then there's the one that became my second 'Music Surprise Of The Day': the cover of soul songstress Anita Baker's "Sweet Love". It's very different hearing a man's voice delivering the memorable lyrics (wasn't until I got to the main chorus that I realized t was in fact that golden Anita Baker hit!), but it truly works in complement with the more updated r&b swing of the production. In addition to this album's charming title track just being something remarkable to ride and glide along to for an eternity, I also nominated it as my latest 'Slow Jam Of The Night', noting the wonderful groove and the whole tender, magical quite storm vibe of the music altogether. And it further deserves recognition because of Raheim's singing performance, showing off some versatility with his high soaring voice. But then there's one that's even more magical, and it too has got the slow jam thing going on with it: "In Paradise". Props to the production crew for creating such a beautifully scenic backdrop to accompany every warm and fuzzy moment of the intimate lyrics, even more thoughtful on their part for infusing the extended, drawn-out breezy orchestral overtures during the final movements to instill that sense of a never-ending romantic adventure. Some jams are simply made just right for dancin', and the pair matching that profile are "Our Love", which I myself instantly loved, and definitely "Spend A Little Time" with its funky, heavy new jack swing beat. Wanna hear something that's especially great? Look no further than the excellence displayed on this album's eighth track, "Stop Lookin' Around". Had thought the theme here would be along the lines of 'stop looking around for another man, because I'm the one for you'. But instead, the words of 'stop looking around for me, I won't be coming back' put an immediate negative spin on things. Despite the sour feelings portrayed throughout the lyrics, however, the song serves as another highlight along this evening joyride that some may find is just as enjoyable—if not more—as those old disco nights:

1. Yours Exclusively
2. Driftin'
3. Our Love
4. Sweet Love
5. Make Be Believe
6. Always Be Around
7. Spend A Little Time
8. Stop Lookin' Around
9. In Paradise
10. Follow Me

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