Q - 9/02, p.1264 stars out of 5
- "...It's hard to argue with music this determined..."
Mojo (Publisher) - 9/02, p.116
"James pulls out all the stops, drawing from jazz and old-school R&B riffs and reggae, Detroit soul, and even rock 'n' roll...this is a well-annotated anthology that paints an honest picture of the artist and his oeuvre, [however] raw and revealing it may be."
Personnel includes: Rick James (vocals, arranger, various instruments);
Teena Marie, Smokey Robinson (vocals); Grandmaster Flash, Roxanne Shante
(rap vocals); John McFee (guitar); Daniel LeMelle (saxophone); Roy Poper (trumpet); John Ervin (trombone); Roy Ayers (vibraphone); Randy Dunlap, Cheryl Dunlap (background vocals).
Producer: Rick James.
Compilation producer: Harry Weinger.
Recorded between 1978 & 1988. Includes liner notes by David Ritz.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Of the many Rick James hits compilations available, ANTHOLOGY is one of the best. James was the flagship artist at Motown throughout the late 1970s and '80s, keeping the sound of the label vital and contemporary long after the heyday of the Temptations and Smokey Robinson. Over the course of two discs and 28 tracks, ANTHOLOGY surveys the length of James's Motown tenure, extending all the way up to 1988's "Loosey's Rap" (featuring Roxanne Shante), and representing the performer's mix of classic R&B, disco-inflected dance-floor anthems, '80s electro-groove, and hard party funk.
Like the best Motown artists, James had an outstanding ear as an arranger and producer. His songs feature roiling beds of rhythm, burbling synthesizers, sharp horn charts, swirling strings, and unfolding choruses of male and female backup singers. The biggest hits--"You and I" (James's first single), the exuberant "Give It to Me Baby," and the irrepressible "Super Freak (Part 1)," his signature song--are here. However, the set is also packed with other gems, including collaborations with Smokey Robinson ("Ebony Eyes"), the Temptations ("Standing on the Top [Part 1]"), and Teena Marie ("Fire and Desire"). ANTHOLOGY works perfectly as a retrospective, and as a top-notch sampler of this funk icon's work. (Note: The 22-track GOLD collection features many of the selections found here.)