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Philip Bailey — Life and Love
Produced by Alan Glass, Andrew Klippel, Philip Bailey & Jean-Paul "Bluey" Maunick

A disturbing trend recently has many soul musicians of yesteryear left without major record labels.  James Ingram, Jeffrey Osborne, and Philip Bailey's big success in the eighties hasn't translated to record company loyalty.

As a result, you may have a hard time getting your hands on Life and Love which was released in Europe and Japan.  However, it would certainly be worth the effort.  This solo effort far outshines Philip Bailey's last Earth, Wind & Fire album (In the Name of Love).

The stand out tracks are the "Bluey" produced How Can I Rely On You and Steppin' Through Time which have seventies-style horn and string arrangements.  Philip also charters into new territory for him with Weightless and Caution To The Wind which both feature the very talented Ta Ta Vega on background vocals.  Down seems to be Keith Sweat inspired although it has Philip's distinctive mix of normal and falsetto vocals.

If you've been wondering what Philip Bailey's been up to, he's alive and kicking and is very much still the man.

More 1998 Albums:

Lauryn Hill — The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
Produced by Lauryn Hill
Believe the hype!  Lauryn Hill is the real deal and deserving of all the accolades and Grammies.  Features That Thing and my favorite Forgive Them Father.

George Benson — Standing Together
Produced by Paul Brown
One of the better recent GB albums.  Features the smooth All I Know and the very cool latin-inspired Poquito Spanish, Poquito Funk.

Luther Vandross — I Know
Various Producers
One of the best Luther albums in years.  Landing a new record label has inspired Luther and this album is solid.  I especially like I'm Only Human and Keeping My Faith In You.

Whitney Houston — My Love Is Your Love
Various producers
Her first full studio album in a while is an obvious effort to appeal to a younger audience and has mixed results. The albums starts off really strong with It's Not Right But Its Okay and Heartbreak Hotel but most of the other songs are fairly average. 

Lionel Richie — Time
Produced by James Anthony Carmichael, Lionel Richie & David Foster
A very decent album in spite of its lack of commercial success.  I especially like the title track and the lead-in Zoomin'.

Maxwell — Embrya
Produced by Musze & Stuart Mathewman
A disappointing follow up to his brilliant Hang Suite debut.  Maxwell still demonstrates his rare talent but you get the feeling he is trying to be too clever with his long titles and weird videos.  My favorite tracks are Submerge:Til We Become The Sun and Luxury:Cococure.

George Michael — Ladies and Gentlemen, The Best of George Michael
Produced by George Michael
I've always thought George Michael has never lived up to his potential.  He has occasionally shown amazing brilliance in his career (Cowboys and Angels for example).  This collection does a good job of showcasing all the gems.  Get the import version which has a fly remake of Stevie Wonder's As performed with Mary J. Blige.

Mariah Carey — Number Ones
Various producers
A good collection of her hit music (and she's had a lot of success).  Get it for the new songs especially I Still Believe.

Various producers
Doesn't quite live up to expectations after her spectacular work on Quincy Jones' Jook Joint.  Still there are some gems including Imagination.