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POP MUSIC | RECORD RACK

*** JOHNNY GILL, "Let's Get the Mood Right," Motown

November 10, 1996|Connie Johnson

It's good to see Gill get a chance to stretch out and express himself. It's an opportunity he mostly missed on New Edition's current reunion album, a project in which none of that group's individual strengths was fully pushed to the forefront.

On this solo project, Gill is in full effect on several rugged R&B torch jams. He really gets ample room to flex on "Take Me (I'm Yours)," a verging-on-begging ballad that owes a debt to '70s-era Teddy Pendergrass. Gill can come on rough or smooth, but seductive mood-enhancers such as "It's Your Body" and "Touch" are always aptly handled.

Like Babyface and R. Kelly--who both contributed songs to this album--Gill has a musical bent that leans toward sensuous love songs. Like them, he also has the emotional depth and vocalagility to be considered a leader in his field.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

* TimesLine 808-8463

To hear excerpts from the albums reviewed, call TimesLine and press * and the artist's corresponding four-digit code.

In 805 area code, call (818) 808-8463.

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