In 1985 the R&B band Ready For The World released their self-titled debut album on MCA records. Lead by vocalist Melvin Riley Jr., with band members Gordon Strozier (guitar), Gregory Potts (keyboards), Willie Triplett (percussion/keyboards), John Eaton (bass), and Gerald Valentine (drums), the album consists of 9 tracks (standard length for mainstream albums at that time) with R&B/Funk/Pop sound that was heavily influence by the then-widely popular music of PRINCE and his various proteges (The Time, Sheila E., Apollonia 6).
The album opens with heavily erotic slow-jam TONIGHT, which was also their debut single. Riley sounds as if he’s actually making love to a woman while belting out the lyrics, complete with moaning and groaning songs. I was in Junior High when this came out, and it was quite scandalous at the time.
The next song is an uptempo track called DIGITAL DISPLAY, a playful ode to a woman’s physical attributes.
This is followed by another uptempo track CERAMIC GIRL, with a similar sounds, Riley sings about reconnecting with a ex-lover who now wears a lot more makeup (no these aren’t the deepest topics, but it’s fun). This is followed by another slow jam, DEEP INSIDE YOUR LOVE which, despite the double-meaning in the title, is not quite as explicit as Tonight is, but feels even more forceful, this is a power ballad, which was also the band’s second single.
These leads into what was their third hit single, OH SHEILA The musical tone and title of the song is what initially sparked the heavy comparisons to PRINCE. This also spawned their first official music video, which lead to the band becoming sex symbols.
Next was another uptempo track HUMAN TOY, which was not released as a single, but was always my favorite track from this album. I love the beat. Then another two more slow jam SLIDE OVER and OUT OF TOWN LOVER, both of which display Riley’s skills as a crooner. And then the album closes out with the mid-tempo track I’M THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU which is another favorite of mine.
The Prince influence probably feels a little heavy a times and, as I said, the lyrical subject matter of the songs tend to revolve solely around sex and women’s looks, but it’s worth noting that the band members were very young at the time, all around 19-20, and had only officially formed as a band two years early. Yet they collectively wrote and produced this albums themselves, so it’s quite an accomplishment. Once could surmise that with more experience and maturity that their music would grow artistically. But as it stands, this album stand the test of time as a solid collection of love songs for the bedroom and fast tracks for the dancefloor.
Chacebook rating: FIVE STARS