Liner Note Author: Clive Richardson .
Three cheers for the U.K's Shout! Records imprint for this glorious two-fer reissue of Randy Brown material. Brown (the brother of William Brown of the Mad Lads) was a deep soul singer from Memphis who recorded first as a member of the Newcomers and then as a solo artist. This set assembles his excellent debut album Welcome to My Room issued in 1978 on Parachute, and the brilliant Midnight Desire released in 1980, on Chocolate City. The album Intimately, issued in 1979, separates them; it isn't quite as fine as either of these platters, but nonetheless contains many great moments. These 17 tracks illustrate what a tremendously expressive vocalist Brown was at his peak, and the production genius of Homer Banks and Carl Hampton and later Chuck Brooks, who were also Brown's go-to team(s) of songwriters.
Welcome to My Room is both an auspicious debut as well as one of surprise, considering Parachute was so deeply entrenched in disco. Whatever the reason, it's the ballads that are the killers here. The midtempo croon of "I Wanna Make Love to You," the slow-burning tearjerker "Too Little in Common to Be Lovers," the lithe, airy "I'd Rather Hurt Myself," the mysterious, percussive, sensual groover "Do It Baby," and the atmospheric "I Love You Baby" are standouts on a seamless collection. Midnight Desire was almost entirely written by the team of Homer Banks and Chuck Brooks and contains a bluesier, funkier party feel in many of the set's nine cuts. The fun begins with the popping stepper "Love Formula 69," that opens the album. Then horn-driven groover "We Oughta Be Doin' It," follows it with a killer croon vocal amid the tough arrangements by Brown. "Things That I Could Do to You," puts the beat in the bedroom and its bassline and funky guitar riff walk a back-arching line between disco and soul. All of the slippery grooves aside, the set does include one absolutely stone-killer deep soul ballad in "The Next Best Thing to Being There," and a midtempo one in "Do You Love Me" -- despite its big syncopated horn section in the intro, it contains a neat little Temptations quote in the lyric. The final track, "Love Be with You," is another midtempo ballad, but its rousing chorus contains more than a little gospel to send it out on an up note. Again, there isn't a dud in the bunch. This is a terrific collection and should be owned by any fan of deep soul. ~ Thom Jurek