Two Early SYLVESTER Albums On One Disc...
Efren Sifuentes | Manhattan, NY | 06/19/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This Fantasy Records copmilation is essentially Sylvester's first (self-titled) release from 1977 and 1981's "Too Hot To Sleep" album rolled into one compilation. The cover can be a bit confusing. Of course, it would have been PROPER for the label to pay it's respects to this amazing entertainer by releasing his other albums indivudially. There was 1978's "Step II" (with "Mighty Real" and "[Dance] Disco Heat" on them), his "Stars" EP from 1979 and 1980's "Sell My Soul." You can track them down (except for "Stars") via the UK label Ace Records. This compilation is good for fans. Stay real."
Truth | DC | 09/06/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"TOO HOT TO SLEEP is a 1999 remastered re-release of two albums Sylvester recorded on Fantasy Records: "Sylvester" (tracks 1-8), his self-titled 1977 debut, and 1981's "Too Hot to Sleep" (tracks 9-18). This CD is comprised of 18 tracks, including two 1:14 tracks of "New Beginnings" (the interlude opened and closed - labeled "reprise" - the "Too Hot to Sleep" album). The booklet includes a 4-page/panel essay, track personnel information, no photos, and no lyrics.
Sylvester James recorded six albums on Fantasy Records; these are his first and last albums for the label. While there are a number of Disco tunes included, many of the songs are mid-tempo R&B grooves and some ballads.
The album "Sylvester" features background (and often foreground) vocals by Martha Wash and the late Izora Rhodes - known as Two Tons O' Fun, and later as The Weather Girls (The duo sing lead vocals on "I Been Down"). On the album "Too Hot to Sleep", Sylvester sings non-falsetto vocals on several songs; the album features background (and sometimes foreground) vocals by Jeanie Tracy (she sings lead vocals on "Give It Up (Don't Make Me Wait)" and co-lead vocals on "Here Is My Love", a duet with Sylvester,). "Sylvester" includes a cover of Ashford & Simpson's "Over and Over"; "Too Hot to Sleep" includes a cover of Smokey Robinson's "Ooo Baby Baby". Unlike much of Sylvester's material, few of these songs exceed 5 minutes.
Comment: some remixes or alternate versions would have been a great addition to this re-release, or perhaps the single/radio version of "Over and Over". Still, it is a good collection of Sylvester songs that, with the exception of "Ooo Baby Baby" and "Down Down Down", are not available on either of the Sylvester compilations ("The Original Hits" and "Greatest Hits").