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Bobby Brown (R&B): Don't Be Cruel

Album Reviews:

Spin (p.84) - "Over beats that matched his tricky footwork, Brown stated prerogatives, rocked tenderonis all night, and slayed anybody who tried to step in his way."

Album Notes

Personnel includes: Bobby Brown (vocals); Larry White (guitar, keyboard, bass, drums, background vocals); Emilio Conesa (guitar); Melicio Magdaluyo (soprano saxophone); Dewayne Sweet (keyboard, bass synthesizer, drums); Teddy Riley (keyboard, background vocals); Percy Scott, Ben Rayes (keyboard); Kirk Crumpler (bass, bass synthesizer); Markell Riley (drum programmer); Flip Kirby (drum overdubs); Porsche Griffin, Karyn White, Kayo, Gordon Jones, Michael Denton, Ollie Bolds, Lee Peters, Ronnie Watkins, Richard Aguon, Bernard Bill, Lee Drakeford, Aaron Hall, Daryl Simmons (background vocals).

Producers: L.A. Reid, Babyface, Gene Griffin, Larry White, Gordon Jones.

It should have come as no surprise that, after leaving behind the strictures of the classic boy band New Edition, Bobby Brown would re-emerge as a prototype of New Jack Swing sex appeal. DON'T BE CRUEL might be somewhat tame, however, as it was still a few years before the era of unabashed rumpshakers like Bell Biv Devoe's "Poison." But the hard funk slapped over melodic, synth-heavy production gives tracks like "My Perogative" and "I'll Be Good To You" a mature, club-friendly quality sorely lacking in his former group's sunshiney tunes. Still, singles like the title track and "Every Little Step" are highly effective as catchy pop hits, having been targeted for massive radio success. But what's most revealing about DON'T BE CRUEL is hearing a more youthful Bobby Brown crooning like a resurrection of teen idol Frankie Lymon on ballads like "Take It Slow." DON'T BE CRUEL is a remarkable solo debut from a singer with an insatiable combination of raw talent and unrefined charisma.


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