Picks and Pans Review: Rhythm of the Night
Berry Gordy, honcho of Motown Records, is holding nothing back in his most recent venture into film production. For The Last Dragon, the martial arts epic he produced, he has DeBarge, flagship of his label's increasingly depleted roster of name artists, performing the featured song. For the album, Gordy has brought out such big guns as Richard Perry, producer of the Pointer Sisters super LP Break Out. Perry was commissioned to oversee the title track, which is a big component of the TV advertising campaign for The Last Dragon. Most of the rest of the record was produced by Jay Gray-don, who gave Al Jarreau's High Crime such a gleaming sound. The studio must have looked like a producers' convention, with Michael Omartian and David Foster dropping by to tickle the keyboards. Also in attendance were noted session men Steve Porcaro and Jeff Lorber. Maybe it's a case of too many cordon bleu cooks spoiling the bisque, but Rhythm of the Night is almost too rich and slick. Prime Time and the title track are snappy, but there's too much pop pap that is redeemed only by El DeBarge's smooth, satiny voice. And the two love songs are retreads: Single Heart is from the sound track of D.C. Cab, and Share My World, on which El and sister Bunny seem to be engaged in a shrieky glass-breaking contest, is from the group's first record in 1981. Gordy has done more impressive things than he did in overseeing this project. (Gordy)
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