For those that wanted a break from the popular Kix 106 (now Hot 106), Sundays were truly the day to look forward to. 95.5 WBRU was the "Sunday Special", so to speak.
Mondays started with some gospel then from 11am to 8pm it was the 360 Degrees Black Experience in Sound. The combination of hits and album cuts from Hip-Hop and R&B truly made for one of the best radio experiences for all of southern New England.
But from 8pm to 11pm ... Gentle Touch was something different. All R&B for 3 hours with minimum commercials and only some breaks to give shout outs to lovers, homies in prison or maybe that guy/girl you had a crush on (I did it once).
This was the only place where you could get Aaliyah, Rome, Anita Baker, Mint Condition, Az Yet, Jesse Powell, Jon B., Prince, Usher (from the real first album), Brownstone, Playa, Teddy Pendergrass, Allure, Janet Jackson, Changing Faces, Kut Klose, Zhane, Yvette Michele and so many more.
Unfortunately this year, 2017, the station has been sold leaving many of us with an empty feeling. It's only right we fill the void with our monthly Gentle Touch submissions where we share an album we think deserves an honorable mention. Enjoy.
DISCLAIMER!!: These opinions are solely based on my, Wooka, thoughts and do not represent the thoughts of The Daily Note team. I am simply a fan of R&B and love to give the little light I have to projects I feel get slept on or don't get enough shine.
Here is the first album Wooka feels deserves a mention and a few nights of uncorked wine with drunken singing:
Amerie - All I Have (2002)
Most only remember 2 hits from Amerie or they remember how fine she is/was.
But her first album, All I Have, is, for those that know, one of the strongest R&B albums in the last 2 decades.
Kicking it off with "Why Don't We Fall In Love", the song followed the sample based era we were re-entering. Liking R&B used to be considered "soft" but this was one of the first times I saw tough guys nodding their heads and humming along to a female singer.
"Nothing Like Loving You" was for sure a Gentle Touch favorite. Amerie is talking that shit with lyrics like "I look into your eyes and say hello" way before Adele. This song should definitely be played with candles lit while being barefoot.
"Talkin to Me", "Can't Let Go", "I Just Died", "Show Me" & "All I Have" serve as traditional cuts for what we were leaving behind in the 90's but with much better instrumentation (provided by Rich Harrison). Rich is a producer form DC that incorporates the hard drums you would normally hear in traditional Go-Go music. He is most known for Beyoncé's "Crazy In Love" & J-Lo's "Get Right" but he had first introduced that wonderful sound on Amerie's debut which is why I feel this album deserves more praise.
Aubrey Graham would agree it ain't about who did it first, it's about who did it right.
The other songs, "Need You Tonight", "Got To Be There", "Hatin On You", & "Float" provide a more Hip-Hop feel, similar to the masterpiece that is MJB's "Share My World". Nas could have easily had a verse on all of these joints to end the "whack beats" theory that many subscribe to for him.
For anybody condoning the motif of R&B ending in the 90's, I always tell them to hear this first.
An album that dropped at the top of the decade and for sure deserves the first of the Gentle Touch.