Entertainment Weekly - 12/22/95, p.70
"The troubled, truculent R&B diva never sounded richer or more expressive than on this album, completed just before her suicide..." - Rating: B
The recording of I REFUSE TO BE LONELY was in progress at the time of Phyllis Hyman's death in 1995.
Personnel includes: Phyllis Hyman (vocals); Lewis Taylor, Ronald Kerber (saxophone); Peter Kent (concertmaster); Barbra Porter, Dianna Halprin, Charlie Bisharat, Bira Kliger, Cynthia Moussas, Yi Hu, Yi Taui, Renita Koven, John Scanlon, Suzie Katayama, Larry Corbett, Timothy Landauer, Diane M. Barnett, Diane Monroe (strings); Amy Shulman (harp); Joe Wolfe, Eddie Montilla (keyboards); Barry J. Eastmond (keyboards, bass); Dexter Wansel, Steven Ford, Michael Aharon (keyboards, percussion); Jay Oliver, Scott Alspach (keyboards, programming); Dave Gardner, Ray Fuller, Paul Jackson, Jr. (guitar); Dave "Jam" Hall (guitar, keyboards, programming); Jeff Lee Johnson (guitar, bass); Jud Friedman, (programming); Alexandra Brown, Larry Jacobs, Jean McClain, Nadirah Ali, Kevin Dorsey, Jim Haas, James E. Gilstrap, Vatrena King, Denise King, Jerome Chaney, Sharon Bryant (background vocals).
Producers: Nick Martinelli, Jud Friedman, Kenneth Gamble, Steven Ford, Dexter Wansel, Phyllis Hyman, Dave "Jam" Hall, Barry J. Eastmond.
Engineers: Bruce Weeden, Jay Oliver, Scott Alspach, Ron A. Shaffer, Craig White, John Anthony, Rob Paustin, Dave "Jam" Hall, Mark Partis, Barry J. Eastmond, Arthur Stoppe.
Includes liner notes by Nancy Wilson.
There's an eerie foreshadowing in listening to this two-disc collection. Phyllis Hyman was found dead after committing suicide on June 30, 1995 just hours before a show. I Refuse to Be Lonely was released just months after on the Philadelphia International imprint. The respected label picked up Hyman and helped to rejuvenate her career during the '90s, and I Refuse to Be Lonely was filled with potent, bittersweet love songs that waver between utter heartbreak and empowerment with a brute honesty that can be overwhelming at points. Hyman never fully received the credit she deserved and this album, along the with the posthumous collection of unreleased tracks on Forever with You showed just how much promise was left untouched, and how deep a void was now present within the R&B community with her loss. ~ Rob Theakston