After Bach - Matinee (1981)
A review by Patrik Andersson
After Bach that obviously liked Bach was a group under the wings of the mighty Maurice White from Earth wind & fire. White was the executive producer and his brother Verdine together with Beloyd Taylor produced the set that was recorded at the Massenburg's studios in Los Angeles. Well-known Paulinho da Costa contributed to the album on percussions besides more or less known musicians. Five of the eight tracks was written by Bernard Taylor which all had a danceable theme. The rest was penned by various songwriters and almost entirely contained slow jams.
After Bach included the two highly talented teen brothers of Michael Brookins (guitar) and Robert Brookins (lead vocalist, keyboards and drums) from Sacramento, CA. Multi-instrumentalist Robert, that was only sixteen at the time, was the lead vocalist on all tracks. He had a distinguish music background. Robert was already singing at four and improving his voice skills in a band at 11 that even managed to win Motown's 1974 Soul Search Contest. No wonder why White saw something in the youngsters!
After Bach cut "Matinee" on ARC records (American Recording Company) in 1981 and came out strong with "It's you", an infectious and intensive song with a touching and passionately burning vocal by Robert Brookins'. It's hard to resist the energy and power in this track that with out any question is the most hit like song on the album that also featured a single release both on 7" and 12". The following tracks on side A includes the descent dance oriented tracks of "Wrap it up", with a quirky synth loop, and "Have you seen here", a more funky and messy tune without losing the main focus on soul. That track, like a few others, has some vague resemblance with Ray Parker Jr and Raydio's classic 1980 album "Two places at the same time". A love song, "I thank heaven", wraps it up on side A representing the slow jam section but has difficulties to reach up to the level of average. The flip side continues in the same style with a tribute to the 80s in the mildly funky flavoured "The ladies of the 80's". Two strong tunes comes next in the classically arranged ballad "Me, myself & I, a well-performed and appealing tune, and the paced up groove gem of "Wanna fill you up" that together with "It's you" are the two top scorers. The final track of the album "Once is not enough" manages to touch strongly with a simple melody that gets better for each minute.
The two brothers got their big dream fulfilled on Matinee, a chance they took and managed well. Even though the album had a strong financial back up and attracted good reviews that weren't enough when it came to sales. Consequently a second release never came and they disappeared. Even so their music lived on to see another day. After Bach's sound was a dance-oriented soul music mixed with elements from the funk and pop genres. They delivered easy listening and appealing music. Even though they hardly invented anything fresh and new the sound was nonetheless pleasant, back then, as well as today. The focus was clearly towards the dance floor with several catchy tunes. Any connoisseur of soul music should miss After Bach.
Robert Brookins music career didn't stop with After Bach. He released his solo debut in 1988 called "Let it be me" and is today a sought-after songwriter and session musician.
This review was orginally published on www.soulchoonz.com
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