Picks and Pans Review: Rise
Rene Moore is a Los Angeleno who played keyboards and did backup singing with the group that became the Brothers Johnson; he has had one of his compositions performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Angela Winbush, born in St. Louis, has done session work behind Dolly Parton (vocals and keyboards). The pair got together in 1977, and this is their third joint album. As soul-funk-rhythm-and-blues duos go, they're not as lusty as Ashford and Simpson nor as coolly sexy as Peaches and Herb, but their singing has a refreshingly relaxed, comfortable-with-each-other sound. Moore and Winbush wrote all the material, and if there's less variety than you might want, there is a striking ballad, My First Love, that's a welcome change of pace, with a moody synthesizer solo by fusion master Jeff Lorber. The Brothers Johnson—George on guitar and Louis on bass—also sit in, as does ubiquitous Toto drummer Jeff Porcaro. All in all, there's more than enough musical talent on this album to keep things from lapsing into relentless funk.