The Whispers - For Your Ears Only (2006)

The Whispers
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It's tough to believe that it has been a quarter century since the Whispers topped the charts with "And the Beat Goes On."  It's even tougher to believe that in 2006 they still sound this good.  For Your Ears Only, the Whispers' first self-released disc, is also their first album in nearly a decade, and I must admit I didn't know what to expect.  Well, what they deliver is an engaging performance that should be a delight to their sizeable fan base.

It's tough to believe that it has been a quarter century since the Whispers topped the charts with "And the Beat Goes On."  It's even tougher to believe that in 2006 they still sound this good.  For Your Ears Only, the Whispers' first self-released disc, is also their first album in nearly a decade, and I must admit I didn't know what to expect.  Well, what they deliver is an engaging performance that should be a delight to their sizeable fan base.

Working with longtime collaborator Grady Wilkins as well as guest writers and producers ranging from Ali Ollie Woodson to Teena Marie, the Whispers have put together a strong collection of primarily sensual, romantic tunes.  And while nothing is as instantly infectious as "Rock Steady" or "It's A Love Thing," the tunes here are subtle but solid.  Cuts such as "Don't Say No" and "Love" hearken back to the group's classic ballads "Say Yes" and "Lady," and UAC radio should be picking up the disc's initial single, the Teena Marie-produced "Butta."  Other cuts, including the stepper song "Get It On," the melodic "Livin" It Up" and the title cut keep the album interesting from front-to-back.  Best of all may be the group's surprising foray into Gospel on "I Sing This Song For You," a terrific performance that includes a full backing choir.

For Your Ears Only is not only far better than I expected after the Whispers' long recording layoff.  It stands on its own as a very strong group performance and a testament that the Whispers are as interesting and relevant in 2006 as they were in 1980.  Recommended.

by Chris Rizik

 

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