Tuesday, October 22, 2019

"Talk to Me" by Chico DeBarge

Song#:  2929
Date:  11/08/1986
Debut:  81
Peak:  21
Weeks:  20
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  The DeBarge family consisted of ten children. The first seven born found success in music with two brothers in the band Switch and the other five siblings hitting it big as DeBarge. Their younger brother Chico (the eighth DeBarge kid born Jonathan Arthur) was barely a teenager when the family band started and didn't join them. His brothers and sister found fame and fortune and it wasn't long before Chico wanted to join the music business. With his siblings doing well on Motown's Gordy label, that certainly provided him with a foot in the door already and indeed it helped him to get signed to Motown. It also helped that he had the family's talent gene and he was able to show it off with his 1986 self-titled debut album. This first single kicked off his career and it did quite well. The song got into the R&B Top 10 (#7) while crossing over to the Pop chart where it nearly cracked the Top 20. It also got to #11 at Dance. The hit helped his album get to #25 R&B and #90 Pop. A second single didn't do as well ("The Girl Next Door," #59 R&B), but this song showed he had the goods to do as well as his other siblings. Unfortunately, his career got sidelined in 1988 (see below), but eventually he would come back and have a little success.

ReduxReview:  This track was different from the dance-pop/AC balladry that his siblings had been serving up. It had a fresher sound that was akin to Prince's and the Minneapolis crowd. The production was terrific and it grooved along quite well. I also like Chico's voice. It's different from El DeBarge's crooning falsetto. The chorus is good, but seems a bit odd being sung by the background singers with Chico riffing around them. Overall, it was a quality debut song.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Sadly, like some of his siblings, Chico got involved with drugs. Not long after the release of his second album, 1987's Kiss Serious, he was arrested for drug trafficking along with his older brother Bobby and four others. Chico and another man were transporting over two pounds of cocaine via a commercial flight from L.A. to Detroit. Authorities found the drugs in their bags at the Detroit airport. Bobby and another man had purchased the drugs in an L.A. club. Both Chico and Bobby were sentenced to over five years in prison. After his release, Chico got back to work on his solo career. He released three albums between '97 and '03 including 1999's The Game, which got to #6 R&B/#41 Pop thanks to the #11 R&B/#71 Pop hit "Give You What You Want (Fa Sure)." But then drugs got in the way of his career again when he was arrested in 2007 for drug possession. He ended up in rehab and once he cleaned up, he recorded a new album in 2009 appropriately titled Addiction.


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