Picks and Pans Review: Just Coolin'
Gerald LeVert has an institutional lavatory voice. Trust us, that’s a high compliment. The roomy bathrooms in schools, churches, offices and other busy buildings have always been renowned for their acoustic properties, and they can make even the most casual of crooners resemble a Pavarotti. Well, Gerald seems to carry that industrial-strength tile work with him wherever he goes. The richness of his voice could be considered unique, except for one thing. He sounds uncannily like his father, Eddie, the singer who led the O’Jays to ’70s soul stardom. Rarely has such a distinctive talent been handed down intact from generation to generation. Gerald, with younger brother Sean and fellow Ohioan Marc Gordon, teamed in 1985 to form LeVert, a vocal group that has had great success on the black charts with such hits as (Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop) Goes My Mind and Casanova. The trio’s third album should enhance its popularity. Just Coolin’ isn’t original enough to be a giant step forward for the group, but it sure is a lot of fun. It offers some rock and soul Pull Over), a little modified go-go (Gotta Get the Money), a touch of Cameo-influenced funk (Take Your Time), toasty warm balladry (Feel Real) and even a dab of Buckeye State Calypso (Join in the Fun). If you’re looking for an antecedent for the style and structure of Just Coolin’, there’s no need to search any further than Alexander O’Neal’s hit R&B LP, Fake. So, all right, maybe LeVert didn’t exactly reinvent the wheel with this record. They still boast a repertoire of good vocal arrangements, good grooves and Gerald. That’s a winning combination. (Atlantic)