An example of stellar production values, and it funks.
M J Heilbron Jr. | Long Beach, CA United States | 04/23/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is another example of producer Quincy Jones at the top of his game. There was a period in the late 70's-early 80's where he was untouchable. He had a distinct sound, managed to get extraordinary results from otherwise ordinary artists, and took established superstars to new levels.
Consider the set of albums all released within a short (3-4 year) time frame: Michael Jackson's "Off The Wall" and "Thriller", George Benson's "Give Me The Night", his own "The Dude", and things like this Brothers Johnson album.
You will find impeccable, tasteful production values, engineered to standards that hold up to the most revealing remastering. Layer upon layer of drums with various other percussive instruments; fat luscious bass lines; orchestral segments with sweet string sections and funky horns; crisp (and more prominent than you'd recall) guitars and judicious use of the then-nascent synthesizer.
Above all, there were the vocals, both upfront and back-up choruses. He made people known for their voice, like Jackson, James Ingram and Patti Austin, sound as good as they ever have, and took those not necessarily known for their vocal prowess (like Benson and the Brothers) to levels they've never reached before or since.
So here, on "Light Up The Night", we have nine sweet-sounding tracks from 1980, led off by the tremendous "Stomp!"...everything a single should be. It sounds perfect on the radio, in your car or on headphones. A driving dance beat, anthemic vocals, killer horns and strings, melodies that hit you one after another with their clarity and soul. It has synth solos and bass solos (!) yet is better off with them as opposed to without them. That in and of itself is amazing.
The Brothers Johnson were masterful musicians. I still have videotapes from Don Kirshner's Rock Concert where they demonstrate their chops for all to see. They were low level stars, but among the most desired session men of their time. I swear the bass playing sounds like someone trying to tame a wild animal. He doesn't play it as much as he unleashes it.
Nothing on the album matches that initial high, but I found myself recognizing all the songs, even though I probably have not listened to this album since 1982.
The title track is a swift poppy number with soothing background vocals. Speaking of, Michael Jackson often showed up as a background vocalist on other people's albums around that time, and here does a nice job on "This Had To Be."
The ballads, like "Treasure" and "All About The Heaven", all sound like the early 80's ballads you know and love. They just happen to "sound" really really good.
Seriously...this Quincy Jones character was taking "sow's ears" and making "silk purses" as if it was as natural and easy for him as breathing.
There's an instrumental ("Smilin' on Ya") and a near-instrumental ("Celebrations"), just to warn you.
Overall, you will get this because: a) you love "Stomp". And you should. b) you have some affection for The Brothers Johnson. And you should. c) you appreciate Quincy Jones' artistry. And you totally should. d) and you can't beat the price..."
LIGHTS UP YOUR NIGHT
Jon | San Diego, California | 05/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you've listened to all of Q's productions, not to mention Rod Temperton's compositions and the brothers' other works, you won't be surprised to find that this album is just as perfect. Possibly the best of all their works, this album features smooth, jazzy funk---music you can't stop dancing to.
STOMP - Killer, killer song...makes you want to stomp all night
LIGHT UP THE NIGHT - Smooth, funky song with awesome horns and lovely background vocals
YOU MAKE ME WANNA WIGGLE - Catchy and funky little number
TREASURE - Smooth slow jam, powered by the genius of Rod Temperton and Richard Heath's lead vocals
THIS HAD TO BE - Killer funk epic, with awesome synthesizers...backgrounds and co-writing provided by Michael Jackson
ALL ABOUT THE HEAVEN - Another slow jam with the smooth vocals of George allowing you to drift up into the clouds
SMILIN' ON YA - Nice instrumental with the great Jerry Hey on trumpet; co-written by Mr. Greg Phillinganes, a frequent collaborator with the Jacksons, Lionel Richie, and others
CLOSER TO THE ONE THAT YOU LOVE - Nice and simple song with great guitars powering this mid-tempo groove
CELEBRATIONS - The great Paulinho DaCosta does his thing on this groovy instrumental
This CD is definitely worth the purchase for all BJ fans, Q fans, and fans of general great funk from the good ole days..."
The brothers funk hard!
Jeffrey Harris | South San Francisco, CA United States | 06/12/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can vividly remember that day back in March of 1980 when I heard this album's first single "Stomp" on the radio for two reasons. One was that it had been two years since these guys had released a new record, and secondly because I sat there completely floored by the bass solo that Louis Johnson played at the song's breakdown. It didn't seem possible for a human being to do something that unbelievable with a bass! Of course I had to have the album right away, and I definitely wasn't disappointed with my purchase. Their fourth album, and in my humble opinion best one the Brothers Johnson ever made. The majority of the album is strong and contains few songs that would be considered throwaways. Highlights include the forementioned "Stomp", the title track, "This Had To Be"(which features background vocals by Michael Jackson), and the beautiful ballad "Treasure". The remaster nicely retains Bruce Swediens' excellent engineering, and the price is definitely right. Essential 80's R&B/Funk."
All Funked Up!!!!
Andre' S Grindle | Bangor,ME. | 04/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"On the final Quincy Jones produced Brothers Johnson album the
pair pop and riff right along on the classic "Stomp" as well
as the kinetic title song,the spastic.rocking funk of "You Make
Me Wanna Wiggle" and Michael Jackson's slight discordant
"This Had To Be".But the ballads "Treasure" and "Closer To The One That You Love" are soulful,romantic fare superior to their previous slow songs.The smoothly grooving instrumentals "Smilin'
On Ya'" and "Celebrations" top off this wonderful musical cake with lots of layors and color.Whenever these two brothers get
together with Q,Rod Temperton and Jacko the results are CERTAIN
to be breathtaking.Sadly this is the only time that this happened so DIG IN!!!!!"
It's truly masterpiece!!
Funky Freak | London,UK | 06/14/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The duo was discovered by Quincy Jones in 1974(approximately I think i was right:))In '76 they released their first album and it was a smash!between 76 and 79 they were the most successful RnB/funk group,to be honest.And the year is 1980, the American Music Industry considered 1980 as the last year of the disco era.Maybe they were misleaded, but the fact is Brothers Johnson had their all-time greatest album in 1980. First of all, as i said this album is a masterpiece.All of the songs are brilliant and bring you the optimism of soul.Must have album!Funk it!"