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Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds - Playlist

Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, Playlist

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

KENNY “Babyface” Edmonds is an American R&B and pop singer, songwriter, guitarist, keyboardist, record producer, film producer and entrepreneur. He was dubbed “Babyface” by funk megastar Bootsy Collins, who discovered him while still a teenager.

In the late 1980s, he was responsible for contributing to the creation of new jack swing and was responsible for writing music for the likes of Bobby Brown, Karyn White, Pebbles and Paula Abdul. And he’s also the man behind some of the biggest successes in contemporary music, including I’m Your Baby Tonight, produced for Whitney Houston, Boyz II Men’s End of the Road and I’ll Make Love To You.

He co-wrote, co-produced and provided backing vocals on Madonna’s Take A Bow and shared billing with Eric Clapton on the chart-topping Grammy winner Change the World from the Phenomenon soundtrack.

Now signed to Island Records, his new album, Playlist, consists of eight cover songs and two original compositions – and it’s a lovingly put together collection that provides some really song intepretations of well-known classics.

Opening with a charming version of Clapton’s seminal Wonderful Tonight, the album proceeds to offer no less impressive versions of Bob Dylan’s Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Dan Fogelberg’s Longer Than, Jim Croce’s Time In A Bottle and James Taylor’s Fire & Rain – not to mention the soul-singer backed Please Come To Boston by Dave Loggins.

The trick behind the album is that Edmonds has remained characteristically respectful to the original versions, as well as layering in rhythmic emphases that make the songs move sensually on the bottom as the melodies float delicately on top. The result is immediately accessible acoustic soul music; old, cherished memories made new again.

By his own admission, Playlist is a labour of love for Edmonds because many of the songs form a big part of the reason that he fell in love with music in the first place.

“When I was in the seventh or eighth grade, I would go to church on Sunday, and I’d listen to the music,” Edmonds recalls about his childhood in Indianapolis. “That was the fun part for me. But when the preacher started preaching, I would leave and go to the car and listen to the radio.

“Normally, I would listen to the R&B station, but they’d be playing church music, too. So I’d switch to the AM pop station, and that’s where I was introduced to James Taylor, Bread, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton. I was learning how to play guitar, it was acoustic music, and it talked to me. I loved it.”

The best thing that can be said about the album – which is now available digitally – is that you’ll fall in love with them too.

Download picks: Wonderful Tonight, Longer Than, Time In A Bottle, Knockin’ On Heavens Door, Please Come To Boston

Track listing:

  1. Wonderful Tonight
  2. Shower The People
  3. Longer Than
  4. Fire & Rain
  5. Time In A Bottle
  6. Knockin’ On Heavens Door
  7. Please Come To Boston
  8. Diary
  9. Not Going Anywhere
  10. Soldier Song