Last year, I joined Popdose‘s Jeff Giles and Robert Cass for a column called “‘Face Time,” in which we discussed essential (and some non-essential) cuts in the catalog of Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, one of the most prolific singer/songwriters of the ’80s and ’90s. ‘Face and his partner Antonio “L.A.” Reid were one of the big 3 production teams that ruled pop and R&B during that era. There was also Teddy Riley and his New Jack Swing camp, and perhaps most notably, Minneapolis’s James “Jimmy Jam” Harris III and Terry Lewis. The former members of Prince offshoot band The Time turned out to be legends in their own right, composing and producing hits for a who’s-who of the music industry and proving to be as (if not more) influential than their purple-clad benefactor.
Now let’s get smooth…
The Force M.D.’s-“Tender Love” (from the Krush Groove Original Soundtrack, 1985)
Written & Produced by Jam & Lewis
Jeff: 1. I had no idea this was a Jam & Lewis joint. Perfect marriage of production and song. I could kiss it.
2. That guy stole Fred Berry’s hat!
3. Is this the set of 227?
MJ: This is a slow dance classic, man. One of-if not the best ballad Jam & Lewis have ever done.
J: Near as I could tell from my suburban vantage point, this song sparked the mini-revival of “street corner vibe” R&B tracks that continued with groups like Troop and Def Con 4. I miss this stuff.
MJ: It definitely had a doo-wop vibe that was missing from much R&B in the mid Eighties. Force M.D.’s and New Edition had a nice friendly rivalry going on around this time. Interesting, then, that NE’s lengthy (and fruitful) association with Jam & Lewis began shortly after “Tender Love” became a hit. And…the Force MD‘s never made a record with Jimmy & Terry again.
MJ: That’s about as obscure as obscure gets.
Dr. Z: This is definitely a classic slow jam, but wow – they’re a little exaggerated in their mannerisms!
I am however, thrown off by the group’s misuse of the apostrophe. I was hoping that the punctuation flub was the fault of the YouTube uploader, but nay. Unless of course, it is actually meant to be possessive of the album title. (i.e. “The Force M.D.’s Love Letters” a la “Terrence Trent D’arby’s Symphony or Damn”).
I’m sorry, I’m teaching a writing class this semester.
MJ: Yeah–the misuse of the apostrophe isn’t a mistake. Well, it _is_ a mistake, but…you know what I mean.