Originally released on the Elektra label in the mid-1980s, "Straight From The Heart" spawned the single "If Ever You're In My Arms Again," which went to #1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and #6 on the Hot R&B Singles and Tracks chart. The follow-up album "Take No Prisoners" was produced by heavyweights Arif Mardin (Aretha Franklin) and Tony LiPuma, and resulted in three charting singles - "Take No Prisoners," "There's Nothin Out There" and "Love Always Finds A Way."
2 LPs on 1 CD: STRAIGHT FROM THE HEART (1984)/TAKE NO PRISONERS (1985).
Personnel: Peabo Bryson (Oberheim synthesizer, percussion, background vocals); Chaka Khan (vocals, rap vocals, background vocals); Dann Huff, Paul Jackson, Jr. , Richard Feldman (guitar); Richard Horton (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); John Hauser (electric guitar); Ron Dover (flute, saxophone, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); Jim Bowling (flute); Dwight Watkins (flugelhorn, Oberheim synthesizer, electric bass, bass guitar, background vocals); Myra Walker (piano, Fender Rhodes piano, Oberheim synthesizer, background vocals); Robbie Buchanan (piano, synthesizer, programming); Randy Kerber (piano); Tom Snow (Fender Rhodes piano); Philippe Saisse (keyboards, synthesizer, programming); Rick Kelly (keyboards); Dave Weckl, John "J.R." Robinson , Steve Ferrone, Carlos Vega (drums); Charles Bryson, Lenny Castro, Michael Fisher (percussion); Gordon Grody, Tom Kelley, Erin Dickins, Deborah Thomas, Diva Gray, Samuel T. Dukes, Brenda Nelson, Edie Lehmann, Mark Stevens, Stephanie James, Yolanda Lee Lewis, Jennifer Holliday , Josie James, Kashif, Lynn Davis , Michael Sembello, Richard Marx, Tommy Funderburk (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Dwight Watkins; Lewis Hahn; Michael O'Reilly; Peabo Bryson; Russ Fowler; Bill Schnee.
Audio Remixers: Dwight Watkins; Peabo Bryson; Russ Fowler.
Recording information: Amigo Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Atlantic Studios, NY; Automated Sound, NY; Bossa Nova Hotel, San Fernando, Trinidad; Chesire Studio, Atlanta, GA; Clinton Recording Studios, New York, NY; Devonshire Studios; Evergreen Studios; Music Grinder Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Orca Studios, Encina, CA; Power Station, NY; Sunset Sound, Hollywood, CA.
Photographers: Beverly Parker; Carol Friedman.
Arrangers: Gene Page; Michael Masser; Peabo Bryson; Philippe Saisse; Robbie Buchanan.
By the mid-'80s, Peabo Bryson had celebrated many a successful hit and secured an impressive tenure on the Billboard R&B charts. But it was 1984's Straight from the Heart that helped shatter the glass ceiling and make Bryson a celebrated star on the adult contemporary and pop charts as well. His ballad "If Ever You're in My Arms Again" was the catalyst, and the uptempo number "I Get Nervous" proved to be a reasonably strong follow-up. Trying to build on this success, Bryson released Take No Prisoners a year later, and it was met with a lackluster response. Though songs like "There's Nothin' Out There" and "She's Over Me" fared well on the R&B circuit, they failed to make an impression on the pop charts -- an unfortunate circumstance, as many of the songs on the album bested the material on Straight from the Heart. This two-fer is a nice snapshot of an artist enjoying the second of many phases of success during his career. ~ Rob Theakston