Second Spin: Robert Brookins, "Come To Me"
Artist: Robert Brookins
Album: Come To Me
From: Vintage Vinyl
Label: MCA Records
What it sounds like: DeBarge crossed with Bobby Brown doing a Prince imitation. Cheesy '80's R&B at its glorious worst.
Best Track: Because it's a single there are only two tracks, neither of which is really appealing. I'm going to have to go with the instrumental b-side as the superior song. It has a vibrating electro beat that sounds so much like the LCD Soundsystem song "Get Innocuous!" it's unsettling. But since it's not ironic -- and builds with cheesy smooth-jazz saxophones and piano rather than sweet synthesizers and electronic tics, as James Murphy's take does -- it's not quite as good.
Worst Track: "Come to Me." It opens with a tingling piano and synthesizer combination and lots of soprano "ooh oh oooh" vocals. Then we get the immortal opening lyrics, "Standing in the rain/teardrops begin to fall/I can feel your pain/raindrops just hide it all."
It's all downhill from there as a drum machine kicks in, Brookins does his best Bobby Brown voice as he tries to croon every woman into sleeping with him with lines like, "Take a chance/don't be afraid/let tonight persuade you to come to me."
It winds down with a signature late-'80s power ballad guitar solo (the soundtrack to Ron Jeremy's life), and a slew of "ooh oh oooohs" in a range of cadences and high notes.
Who you can thank for the amazing cover art: Casandra Mills, Creative Star Management
Interesting Facts: Brookins got his start in 1974 when, as a nine year-old, his group Little Robert and the Fondeles won the Motown Records Soul Search Competition. In 1981 he joined the group Afterbach with his brother Michael, signed to Columbia Records and released the album "Matinee," produced by Maurice and Verdine White of Earth, Wind and Fire.
Eventually he became a songwriter and session drum, piano and keyboard player for acts like the Isley Brothers, Stephanie Mills, Waymon Tisdale and, gulp, Bobby Brown.
He sang on George Duke's self-titled 1986 album, earning a record deal with MCA that led to the release of his full-length debut In The Night in 1987, where this single is pulled from. The title track featured a duet with Stephanie Mills. In 1988 he released "Let It Be Me," anchored by another Mills duet, "Where is the Love."
His last claim to fame is writing most of the songs on Jackie Jackson's album "Be The One" in 1989. After that he mostly worked as a producer for obscure late 80's/early 90's dance and R&B groups before falling off the map. Here's his MySpace page.