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Wade O. Brown, All Night, All Love

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This is the kind of music you put in the CD player after you just made her dinner and you’ve lubricated the wheels of more intimate social interaction with a few glasses of good wine. Yeah, it’s that kind of CD.

Wade O. Brown’s new release, All Night, All Love, is heavily influenced by the 70’s R&B giants. A bit reminiscent of Isaac Hayes and Marvin Gaye, Brown’s voice isn’t one of the neutered, whiny voices of contemporary R&B. It’s a full, deep voice singing over easy, seductive grooves. While the music isn’t particularly complex, its simplicity works well in context.

The disc starts hitting stride with the second track, “Put This On,” a song that sonically and lyrically promises a heavenly night. Like the rest of the music, this one isn’t explicit in any way, choosing to be suggestive and smooth instead of outright raunchy, and it is much the better for the comparative subtlety.

Unfortunately, not all is well. A few of the songs (most irritatingly on “Maybe”) sport burbling electronic sounds in the background that revive not only a Luther Vandross vibe, but a sort of Pac Man nostalgia, too. I don’t think that’s really the kind of stimulation listeners are looking for. It’s a good thing that these noises don’t pervade throughout the entire disc; this could have been a very different review. Surprisingly, “Maybe”

By the time “Maybe” is fading from memory, the disc hits another high point. With a gentle little guitar and a steady beat, this one brings the music back to a happier place, and its follow-up, “Where Do We Go For Love (The Sexy Mix)” just might be the best of the bunch. Unless the best song is “So Glad,” a song that would have been a monster hit in the late 70’s.

Brown has hit on a good mix with All Night, All Love. The style suits his voice beautifully, and he has a real talent for a classic rhythm and blues sound. If not quite exceptional, it’s a damned good effort that could point to even better things for the artist in the future.

And you’d be hard pressed to find a better late night accompaniment this side of Marvin Gaye’s Midnight Love.

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