Monday, August 25, 2014

Mtume - You, Me and He

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of You, Me and He, the fourth studio album from the R&B/funk band Mtume. The roster of the group at the time included James Mtume (vocals and keyboards), Tawantha Agee (vocals), Raymond Jackson (bass), Philip Field (keyboards), Ed Moore (guitar) and Leslie Ming (drums).

This 1984 release spent nineteen weeks on the US Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 77. It also rose to number 5 on the US Billboard R&B chart.

Side one arrives with the sexy and sensual “C.O.D. (I’ll Deliver)”. This second single went to number 20 on the US Billboard R&B chart.

The tempo stays gentle and loving with “You Are My Sunshine”.

The title track “You, Me and He” is next. As the first single, this song about a cheating lover went to number 83 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 2 on the US Billboard R&B chart.

The band picks up the pace a bit with “I Simply Like”, a funky stomping dance groove to help folks let their backbone slip. I really like the guitar solo too.

Side two opens with “Prime Time”, another mid-tempo intimate overture.

Things get down and dirty with the kinky “Tie Me Up”. I like the bass groove here but the lyrics are really too simplistic.

Things slow down again with the confessional “Sweet for You and Me (Monogamy Mix)”. The dialogue from this one reminds in part of one I had with someone I dated back in the 80’s; I too found myself in the same situation as the guy here. The saxophone is given a great spotlight here.

For me, they save the best track for last. “To Be or Not to Bop That is the Question (Whether We Funk or Not)” is easily my favorite of the dance tunes on the record.

While I was familiar with the name of Mtume in the 80’s, this was really the first time I sat down to listen to one of their albums. While I liked the tracks well enough, most of You, Me and He would have been a little bit too chill for my tastes back in the day. I definitely can appreciate it better with a bit of maturity under my belt too.

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