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Barry White: Together Brothers [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

Album Notes

Personnel: Love Unlimited, The Love Unlimited Orchestra.

Original music and lyrics composed by Barry White.

Barry White's soundtrack to the 1974 blaxploitation film Together Brothers doesn't match the quality of classic efforts like Curtis Mayfield's Superfly, Isaac Hayes' Shaft, or Marvin Gaye's Trouble Man, but it is an appealing and welcome release all the same. Mayfield's and Gaye's soundtracks, in particular, benefited from solid material throughout, whereas White's soundtrack does suffer from some plodding moments; "You Got Case" and "Stick Up" recycle past funk grooves, while the main theme "Somebody Is Gonna Off the Man" is ineffectively reconfigured throughout. An eerie, Morricone-style whistling and harp interlude on "Killer's Lullaby" intrigues at first but falters with a thin arrangement. The lightness of tone and many string-laden numbers on Together Brothers shouldn't be a surprise, though, since they reflect White's romantic soul style: ghetto streets flowing with champagne. In fact, on a majority of the tracks, White's spacious and silky arrangements and the Love Unlimited Orchestra's adroit backing are substantial enough to offset the album's weaker moments. The vocal version of "Somebody Is Gonna Off the Man" and the soundtrack's one hit "Honey, Please Can't You See" are classic examples of White's pop-soul style, while mood numbers like "So Nice to Hear" and "Can't Seem to Find Him" benefit from strong and varied arrangements; the latter features an effective three-way collage of funk, noir ambience, and orchestral bombast. Together Brothers is a must for dedicated White fans and a respectable title in the blaxploitation soundtrack catalog. ~ Stephen Cook



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