February 03, 1986 12:00 PM

Teddy Pendergrass

The 1982 car crash that broke Pendergrass’ neck and left him paralyzed from the chest down left his luxurious voice intact. The second album he has recorded since the accident reflects a new attitude and style. Pendergrass, 35, who grew up in Philadelphia, first gained attention with his voraciously romantic, scorching vocals for Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. In 1976 he went solo and became a steamy R&B balladeer, known as “Teddy Bear” to his predominantly female fans. Workin’ It Back reveals a broader approach. Pendergrass sounds warmer and more flexible throughout the album, from a tender song of lost love by Linda and Cecil Womack, Lonely Color Blue, to the avalanching rhythm of Never Felt Like Dancin’. The real triumphs occur when Teddy works between those tempos, as on the title track and One of Us Fell in Love. His meticulous enunciation and touching baritone are set off by the unostentatious, sharp arrangements that help make Workin’ It Back a robust and inviting album. (Asylum)

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