Saturday, March 23, 2013


YEAR:  1972
TRACK LISTING:  I'm Stone In Love With You,  If You Don't Watch Out,  You and Me,  It's Too Late,  Children of the Night,  You'll Never Get To Heaven (If You Break My Heart),  Break Up To Make Up,  Peek-A-Boo,  You're Right As Rain,  Pieces
IMPRESSIONS:  No, they're not the Impressions, they're the Stylistics, silly!  This is the only actual album (that's not a "greatest hits" collection) by the Stylistics that I own and I think it's well worth owning.  While critic Robert Christgau gives the album a B+ and thinks its not quite as good as the Stylistics' eponymous debut album, I think their sophomore effort is a classic early seventies soul album by the smooth-as-velvet Stylistics.  Just passing the 37 minute mark, ROUND 2 is sweet, soulful and satisfying.  While it's not a masterpiece, it is something akin to a perfect little listening experience that hangs around just long enough without overstaying its welcome; add a couple more songs of the same quality and the ears would begin to tire.  As it stands, however, ROUND 2 kicks out four hit singles ("I'm Stone In Love With You", "You'll Never Get To Heaven [If You Break My Heart]", "Break Up To Make Up" and {not-so-hit single}"Peek-A-Boo") as well as the exquisite ballad "You're Right As Rain" and a nice cover of Carole King's "Too Late" given a soul makeover.  Album tracks like the bouncy, Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions-sounding "If You Don't Watch Out", "You and Me" (which sounds like early-era Supremes) and "Pieces" (which sounds like later-era Supremes or Temptations) are very pleasant as is the album's obvious (by it's trumpeting appearance on the album cover) 7 minute epic "Children of the Night" (no, it's sadly not about vampires).  Also you've gotta love an album cover that looks so militant encasing an album which is filled with the sweetest soothing soul.  It's just a damn fine listen all around.
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS:  All of 'em. . .ain't if funny how these half hour albums seem to contain nary any filler whereas modern-day 75 minute albums . . . well . . .
FACT SHEET:  ROUND 2 is the Stylistics' second album.  The producer was Thom Bell and was recorded at Philadelphia's Sigma Sound Studios.  "It's Too Late" was written by Carole King and Toni Stern.  "You'll Never Get To Heaven (If You Break My Heart" was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.   

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