The soundtrack of my childhood is that of the great R&B legends. My mom’s car was consistently filled with cassette tapes of Lionel Richie, Whitney Houston, Peabo Bryson, and Diana Ross. I became in tune with my soul early in life.
Awhile back, I bought Peabo Bryson’s, Crosswinds. This album is his Capitol records debut from 1978. I don’t even remember where I picked it up or how long I have had it. I remembered that was one of my mom’s favorites and I grabbed it. Since I am now going through my entire collection to see what I haven’t listened to, I decided to give this album the time it deserves.
Yet, that time is still being determined considering that it has been on the turntable for part of the week, through the weekend, and is still playing at the time of this writing.
The album starts out with the title track “Crosswinds,” which I easily get caught up in. This tune set up the album pefectly on what is to become. It contains the smooth stylings and rhythmic patterns of any great R&B song, with a dash of funk, and a pinch of disco.
Next comes “I’m so Into You.” A pure ballad that could easily fit into the Copa in 1956 as well as Studio 54 in 1978. Then comes a pure disco track that had me strapping on my roller skates, “Smile.” Needless to say, my leisure suit was at the cleaners.
The B side of the album keeps the same consistent feel throughout. I especially enjoyed “Spread Your Wings.” This is an up beat song about achieving your dreams, but sang as if whispered into your little darling’s ear. Bryson follows that with “Don’t Touch Me.” This song reminds me of Janet Jackson’s “Let’s Wait a While,” waiting for that right time where it will mean the most.
He concludes this album with “Love is Watching You.” The only “break-up” song of the album if you will, yet it still doesn’t totally encompass the end. It is an R&B power ballad stating how love can walk in and out of her life, but that heaven is watching her, eluding to future blessings.
What I find extraordinary about this album is that Bryson, at a mere age of 27, wrote and composed all the songs on this album. Each song is very different, yet they distinctly stay in sync. The lyrics barely repeat themselves and you find a new favorite with each listen. Bryson has smooth tenor vocals relative to Marvin Gaye’s, the writings of Lionel Richie, and the spunk of Smokey Robinson.
No wonder all the articles I read over Bryson have named him the “Kind of Balladers,” with countless praises to his writing ability. This album is his major debut. He was entrusted with a lot for a young man, yet delivered ten fold.
I don’t understand how this album has been hiding so well in my collection. I sure am glad I finally took a peek.