PEABO BRYSON/ROBERTA FLACK; Born To Love (Soul Music Records)

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‘Tonight, I Celebrate My Love’ is one of THE great soft soul classics. The Michael Masser-penned ballad was the focal point of the 1983 album ‘Born to Love’ for which Capitol execs paired their hot male star Peabo Bryson and the equally high-flying Roberta Flack. Both has enjoyed duet success before; Flack, of course, with Donny Hathaway while Bryson had worked with label mate Natalie Cole. Peabo and Roberta first worked together on a live album ‘Live & More’ (Luther Vandross was a backing singer, by the way). Its success (# 10 Billboard R&B album) determined the Capitol people to record a “proper” album… and the result was ‘Born To Love’ – just reissued by Soul Music Records.

‘Tonight, I Celebrate My Love’ still stands out; it’s timeless. The album though offers plenty more similarly sophisticated soul delights –notably the two Burt Bacharach numbers – ‘Blame On Me’ and ‘Maybe’. Bacharach wrote them with his then partner Carole Bayer Sager and they combine the elegance of ‘Tonight’ with Flack’s ‘Making Love’… very pretty and sweetly sentimental. Elsewhere the Crewe-Gaudio-penned ‘You’re Looking Like Love To Me’ and ‘I Just Came Here To Dance’ plough the same furrow. The faster numbers – like ‘Heaven Above Me’ – are more disposable while the title track (composed by Bryson) just lacks the magic of ‘Tonight’ (which, by the way was originally pitched at Diana Ross).

(BB) 3/5