Back to the Grindstone was an excellent return to form from Ronnie Milsap and, not coincidentally, it was his last great record, as well as his last hit album. Throughout Back to the Grindstone, Milsap displays his talent for eclectic, soul-inflected R&B, tearing throug a gritty duet with Patti LaBelle on "Love Certified," covering "Since I Don't Have You" with heart, and then slipping into hard country with "Turn That Radio On." Not one of the 10 songs on the record is weak, and Milsap responds with a gutsy, powerful performance, easily making Back to the Grindstone one of his best albums.
Though not as relentlessly funky as his classic Blue Note debut Two Headed Freap, On the Avenue remains the most accomplished record of Ronnie Foster's career, proving commercial aspirations and accoutrements can indeed co-exist alongside traditional jazz sensibilities. Produced by George Benson and featuring the great Phil Upchurch on guitar and Marvin Chapell on drums, On the Avenue favors more mellow, nuanced grooves over the blistering funk of previous Foster outings. The velvety opener "Serenade to a Rock" and the title cut both draw heavily on Stevie Wonder's classic mid-'70s recordings, with a lithe cover of the Innervisions track "Golden Lady" further underlining the influence. Foster also expands his palette to include Afro-Cuban sounds ("Big Farm Boy Goes to a Latin City") and even assumes vocal duties for the first time on LP with "To See a Smile." Best of all is his rendition of Freddie Hubbard's "First Light"; arguably Foster's purest and most potent performance to date.
Time Life has put together the best-loved romantic, adult contemporary hits of the eighties. From sexy and sensual ballads to soft and sweet love songs and even some of the decade's greatest power ballads, the 'Easy '80s' collection is all about love.
Kenny Rogers compilations tend to drift in and out of print, yet in a sense it doesn't matter much, because most featured most of the big hits. However, very few contained them all and, as of 2004, the only collection in print that contained all his big hits, from the First Edition through the mid-'80s, was 1999's four-disc box set Through the Years, which was too exhaustive for all but dedicated Rogers fans. So, there was a need for a new, relatively concise collection that featured all the hits; hence Capitol's 42 Ultimate Hits, a double-disc set that spans Kenny's entire career, from the First Edition to two new tracks, including a duet with Whitney Duncan.