Only Human [Expanded Edition]

by: Jeffrey Osborne

After such George Duke-produced R&B/pop hits on A&M as "On the Wings of Love" and "The Borderlines," Jeffrey Osborne's Arista debut, Only Human, was a return to more R&B-oriented material. Wisely, the LP's first single showcased Osborne's special way with a ballad. Produced by Barry J. Eastmond (Freddie Jackson), the halting, dusky "Only Human" was a Top Three R&B smash in late 1990. The singer shows his social consciousness side on the chugging "If My Brother's in Trouble," which was produced by Shep Pettibone and made it to number 11 R&B in the spring of 1991. The Osborne co-written ballad "The Morning After I Made Love to You" (also produced by Eastmond) at times generates the kind of shivers generated by some of his classics with L.T.D.. It was the album's third hit single, going to number 24 in the summer of 1991. There are successful flirtations with hip-hop on "Baby Wait a Minute" and a cover of the Roberta Flack hit "Feel Like Making Love" co-produced by Robert Brookins. While it could be argued that Osborne's A&M albums were generally "too pop," he seems absolutely regenerated on Only Human, digging his vocal chops into material that accommodates his extensive range. It's a head-scratcher as to why this is his only Arista release (one of his other sides for the label was the tasty Dionne Warwick duet "Love Power"); it would have been very interesting to hear Osborne continue in this mode. Some of the album's tracks are on the Hip-O CDs Love Songs, Ultimate Collection, and More of My Best. ~ Ed Hogan

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