September 19, 1988 12:00 PM

Jeffrey Osborne

Osborne’s voice is an extraordinary combination of strength and suppleness, of dynamism and expressiveness. He could sound passable yodeling an eye chart—and this disappointing album pretty much puts him to the test. It’s rife with paltry pop like the title track (which Osborne wrote with David “Hawk” Wolinski, one of Sean Penn’s former sparring partners), failed funk like She’s on the Left, and frilly would-be show tunes like True Believers, which is as cloying as last year’s Linda Ronstadt-James Ingram duet, Somewhere Out There. Osborne may be the only pop musician in recent times to borrow a Brazilian mood (La Cuenta) and come out the poorer for it. Oh, he sings the tarnation out of every offering on One Love-One Dream, as only he can. There is a trio of redeeming ballads, All Because of Love, Family and Cindy on which Osborne heats up considerably. But the combustion still doesn’t seem spontaneous. Osborne must overreach because so many of these songs are so hollow at the core that the pure charm of his voice is all he has going for him. Nobody is singer enough to pull off that kind of stunt for long. Listen to earlier Osborne tunes, such as Room with a View, to get an idea of the excitement Osborne is capable of generating when the material is right. (A & M)

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