Wednesday, September 7, 2022

"Right Next to Me" by Whistle

Spotlight Alert!

Song#:  3922
Date:  06/03/1989
Debut:  89
Peak:  60
Weeks:  13
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  This Brooklyn-based trio of Jazzy Jazz (Brian Faust), Kool Doobie (Garvin Dublin), and DJ Silver Spinner (Rickford Bennett) came together in '85 and got hooked up with writers/producers Howie Tee and the Kangold Kid. Signed to NYC indie label Select, the trio recorded the single "(Nothing Serious) Just Buggin'." It would end up doing fairly well at R&B reaching #17 while also getting to #18 Dance. A self-titled debut album would follow. While the majority of the tracks on the LP were rap-based, there were a few that found the group actually singing including the single "Barbara's Bedroom," which made it to #31 R&B. The LP would get to #24 R&B. After a personnel changed that turned them into a quartet, Whistle returned in '88 with Transformation. For the actual vinyl LP, the group would record contemporary R&B tracks for side one and then do hip-hop tracks for side 2.  The CD added two more hip-hop tracks at the end. The first two singles were from the R&B part of the album. Both were minor entries on the R&B chart. The third single was from the hip-hop batch and it failed to chart. As a last grab for attention, this fourth single from the R&B bunch was pushed out. Although it would be another mid-charter at R&B getting to #52, the tune was able to see some action at pop radio and crossover to the chart where it would top out at #60. Despite that result, the album would fail to reach the Pop chart, however it did get to #42 R&B.

ReduxReview:  This song caught me completely off guard. To get familiar with the group I listed to "Just Buggin'" and a couple tracks from their debut album. While I knew they were moving more toward a New Edition/Boyz II Men vibe, when I put this song on it truly surprised me. For the first twenty seconds I thought I'd stumbled on a lost Commodores/Lionel Richie track. When the vocals started I knew it wasn't, but I really liked what was happening. As the song quietly unfolded I fell deeper and deeper into it. The whole arrangement of the tune was really great, but I especially loved the keyboard fills in the chorus. I liked the lead and background vocals as well. Overall, this was just such a lovely tune and it was a shame it didn't do better. Anyone who liked "Tender Love" should be all over this song. I didn't care much for Whistle's hip-hop tracks, but this song was aces. They had a couple of other nice tunes and the guys were talented. It just seems they never fully found their stride because they kept changing lanes and failed to forge their own path. Still, this song is a true lost gem of the decade. Because of that, I'm putting this in the PopRedux spotlight.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Whistle would return with a follow up album Always and Forever in 1990. For the LP, the quartet would completely leave behind their hip-hop roots and shoot for a full contemporary R&B album. Its first single, a remake of the 1977 #2 R&B/#18 Pop hit "Always and Forever" by Heatwave, would end up becoming their biggest hit reaching #9 R&B and #35 Pop. A follow up, the new jack swing "Bad Habit," would get to #40 R&B and #13 Dance. The album would top out at #34 R&B. A fourth album in 1992 would do far less well and that would be the end of the line for Whistle.


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