Friday, December 6, 2013

Luther Vandross - Busy Body

Today (December 6th) is the thirtieth anniversary of Busy Body, the third studio album from R&B singer-songwriter-producer Luther Vandross. It continued the successful run from his first two albums Never Too Much and Forever, For Always, For Love (click here and here respectively) by going Platinum in the US. Chart-wise, it hit number 42 in the UK, number 32 on the US Billboard Album chart and number 1 on the US Billboard R&B chart.

Side one begins with “I Wanted Your Love”, the B-side to the third single. Backed by a strong dance beat, this one tells of a guy who simply cannot get over his ex-girlfriend.

The title track and B-side to the fourth single is next. “Busy Body” slides in with a smooth and sensual, mid-tempo groove and a title that gives a tasteful way to call someone a sleep-around tramp.

“I’ll Let You Slide”, the second single, stalled at number 102 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and number 100 in the UK. It did, however, go all the way to number 9 on the US Billboard R&B chart. This tale about brief indiscretion features a funky bass and synth mix that has my instantly bopping to the beat. Vandross is willing to give his cheating woman another chance.

Things slow down a bit to close the side out with a ballad. The fourth single, “Make Me a Believer”, lost momentum at number 48 on the US Billboard R&B chart.

Side two starts with “For the Sweetness of Your Love”. This dance jam, which outlines all the things Vandross will do for a certain gal's loving, clocks in at over seven minutes in length.

The duet “How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye” features Dionne Warwick. It also appeared on Warwick's October of 1983 album, produced by Vandross, as the title track. As a single, it climbed to number 99 in the UK, number 27 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 7 on the US Billboard R&B chart and number 4 on the US Adult Contemporary chart.

The album closes with a medley of “Superstar / Until You Come Back To Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do”; it combines the 1969 Delaney and Bonnie track (made famous in 1971 by the Carpenters) with the 1967 Stevie Wonder tune (made famous by Aretha Franklin in 1973) . Vandross’ “Superstar” portion was released as the third single from this album, reaching number 87 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 5 on the US Billboard R&B chart. These are two classic pop songs I know well, but the arrangement and blending Vandross does here creates a whole new masterpiece.

Based on his past recordings that I had listened to and purchased, I immediately bought the tracks to Busy Body even before doing this review. I was that confident that Luther Vandross would deliver the goods for me. His work here is a solid and welcome addition to the 80's R&B genre in my music library.

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