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Brenton Wood - Out of the Woodwork

Brenton Wood - Out of the Woodwork

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Genre: soul
Rating: ** (2 stars)
Title:  Out of the Woodwork
Company: Golden Oldies
Catalog: GO 1001
Year: 1986
Country/State: Shreveport, Louisiana
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: --
Available: 1
Catalog ID: 295
Price: $70.00

I guess you couldn't blame Brenton Wood for trying to update his sound in search of an audience - and that's exactly what 1986's "Out of the Woodwork" attempted to do ... Produced by Wood, the album featured a mixture of re-recorded earlier hits ('Gimme Little Sign', 'Oogum Boogyn' and 'Baby You Got It'), a couple of lesser known tracks from the two classic albums ('Catch You On the Rebound' and 'I Like the Way You Love Me', rounded out by several new tunes. Normally an artist deciding to re-visit earlier successes is not a good thing and that was underscored on this release. Wood's voice remained likeable, but he seemed to be uncomfortable with it, frequently multi-tracking it, or using shrill female backing singers to shadow his voice. The updated arrangements added nothing to those classic soul tunes. As for the new tunes; to be honest, they were totally forgettable with Wood succumbing to the lowest common denominator in terms of '80s soul and funk.  

1.) Sneaky Peeky (Alfred Smith) - 
In spite of some dreadful '80s synthesizers, 'Sneaky Peeky' was probably the track that came the closest to capturing Wood's original sound. Dropping the brittle female backing singers and the synthesizers would have made the song even better. rating: *** stars
2.) Gimme Little Sign (Alfred Smith - Joe Hoveen - Hal Winn) - 
Sadly, Wood's update to the classic 'Gimme Little Sign' added nothing to the original. The changes were minor, giving the track some needless '80s production effects. Stick with the original. rating: ** stars
3.) Oogum Boogum (Alfred Smith) -
Maybe due to the fact the original was so good, Wood didn't stray too far with his remake of 'Oogum Boogum'.   Course that begged the question of why he bothered to remake the song. rating: *** stars
4.) This Love Is For Real (Alfred Smith) - 
A smooth 'love man' ballad that recalled something out of Luther Vandross' catalog, 'This Love Is For Real' certainly had some radio potential and was probably the best of the new tracks. rating: *** stars
5.) Young, Bold and Daring (Alfred Smith - Powell) - 
Hum, probably the best way to describe 'Young, Bold and Daring' was as bad Isley Brothers .... Honestly Wood's voice simply wasn't cut out for hardcore funk numbers like this one. rating: ** stars
6.) Baby You Got It (Alfred Smith - Joe Hoveen - Hal Winn) - 
Another song I've always loved (I can remember heading it on the radio as a child), the remake didn't stray far from the original but once again added nothing to the original. Syndrums ? Give me a break.    rating: *** stars

1.) Soothe Me (Alfred Smith) -  
A smooth, mildly Caribbean-flavored dance track, 'Soothe Me" wasn't bad, but to my ears sounded like something you'd hear at a pick up lounge on the Cayman Islands.  rating: ** stars
2.) Cold Cash (Simon - Gasden) - 
'Cold Cash' found Wood diving headlong into '80s-styled funk. Propelled by a bunch of synthesizers and some nice Ernie Isley-styled lead guitar, think along the lines of Cameo and you'd have a feel for this one. It wasn't really good, but I'll give it an extra star for the funny lyrics and highly dated sound.   rating: *** stars
3.) Me and You (Alfred Smith) - 
A nice, slightly doowop-tinged ballad, 'Me and You' sound a touch like Aaron Neville and could have been quite good, except for the horrible spoken word segments that seemed to go on forever. rating: ** stars
4.) You're the Girl In My Dream (Alfred Smith) - 
A throwaway mid-tempo number, 'You're the Girl In My Dream' was clearly written with radio play in mind, but the track lacked a single original note or concept. Totally forgettable. rating: ** stars
5.) Catch You On the Rebound (Alfred Smith - Joe Hoveen - Hal Winn) - 
Maybe because it was always one of my favorite Wood tunes, the remake of 'Catch You On the Rebound' came off as nothing short of a travesty. Wood didn't lose the original's breezy melody, but smothering it with female backing singers and an updated '80s arrangement didn't do the song any favors. rating: *** stars
6.) I Like the Way You Love Me (Alfred Smith - Joe Hoveen - Hal Winn) - 
Of all of the remakes, Wood's cover of 'I Like the Way You Love Me ' was probably the one that faired the best. No, it wasn't as good as the version on the debut LP, but it was saved from the horrendous synthesizers and '80s arrangement. Not great, but at least listen able. rating: *** stars

Wish I could be more supportive of this one, but the bottom line is it simply wasn't very good. Unless you're a hardcore fan, I'd suggest you pull out the first two albums.
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