Artist: Alexander O´ Neal
Title: Alexander O´ Neal
Label: Tabu Records
Catalog# TBU 26485
Alexander O’Neal is the debut solo studio album by American recording artist Alexander O’Neal. It was originally released in 1985 by Tabu and Epic. The songs were recorded during 1984 to 1985 in sessions that took place at Creation Audio in Minnesota, and Larrabee Sound in Los Angeles, California, assisted by R&B songwriting and record production team Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
Alexander O’Neal wasn’t as huge as Luther Vandross or Freddie Jackson; nonetheless, he was among the most exciting male R&B vocalists of the mid- to late ’80s. Creatively and commercially, the soul man hit the ground running with this impressive debut album. It’s impossible to discuss Alexander O’Neal without mentioning the Time — O’Neal is an ex-member of that Minneapolis funk-rock combo, and so are the album’s producers (Monte Moir on three tracks, the Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis team on the others). Also, former Time member Jelly Bean Johnson is heard on drums, percussion, and guitar. But despite the participation of so many Time graduates, this release isn’t nearly as Minneapolis-sounding as it could have been. The intoxicating funk hit “Innocent” is very Time influenced, but for the most part, O’Neal comes across as the epitome of a smooth, romantic soul man — sleek gems like “If You Were Here Tonight,” “A Broken Heart Can Mend,” and “What’s Missing” have more in common with Luther Vandross, Freddie Jackson, and Kashif than with Prince or the Time. While the solo albums that Morris Day and Jesse Johnson provided in the 1980s were consistently Time-minded, that isn’t the case with O’Neal‘s 1985 debut. Some people found that surprising, but then, O’Neal never actually recorded with the Time — when the Time recorded its first LP for Warner Bros. in 1981, O’Neal was long gone. Excellent from start to finish, Alexander O’Neal is the singer’s most essential album.
1. A Broken Heart Can Mend (3:45)
2. If You Were Here Tonight (6:10)
3. Do You Wanna Like I Do (4:49)
4. Look At Us Now (5:07)
1. Medley: Innocent / Alex 9000 / Innocent II (10:32)
2. What’s Missing (5:43)
3. You Were Meant To Be My Lady (Not My Girl) (6:31)