Barry White, Staying Power


By Brad Engler

Just in case you didn’t know, Barry White has a low voice.

Barry White definitely knows he has a low voice too. He talks almost as much as he sings on this album, which only gets old about three quarters of the way through. Not bad for a guy who’s been doing the same schtick for the last three decades. Without a doubt, Barry is still the man to turn to if you feeling like pleasin’ ladies.

On this album, Staying Power, White reminds us that he is still going strong, despite the fact that a guy named Isaac Hayes, who works as the voice of a ridiculous cartoon chef has recently been damaging his image as master of the female libido. White’s songs are filled with smooth string arrangements, slick keyboard parts, and bass deeper than Bill Gates’ pockets.

On “Get Up,” White tells all who will listen to “stop just sitting on your ass.” The album is filled with lyrics such as this that range from odd to cornball, which somehow don’t sound terribly ridiculous when they’re sung or spoken in Barry White’s voice. No one else could possibly get away with it though.

White also covers a Sly Stone tune also done in 1994 by New Orleans pianist/vocalist Dr. John. The track is called “Thank You.” In this version the song is re-mixed by none other than Sean “Puffy” Combs, and features a rap verse by a guy named Mr. Rodgers. It’s definitely a cool track that stands out as the highlight of the album for me.

The album is certainly not shockingly original, but like Bach and Handel before him, White has only used his earlier, groundbreaking, stuff as a framework for this later work. White shouldn’t be criticized for being unoriginal any more than those two. It should not be inferred from this statement that I am making a general comparison of Bach and Handel to Barry White. Barry’s got much more soul, and has probably “scored” way more women than they ever could. (Editor’s note: I wouldn’t assume that.)

On whole, the album is enough of a treat to recommend. It’s good, hip, soul and funk throughout, and White’s voice thrives with the slow grooves he builds around himself.

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