Sharon Redd - Redd Hott
Sharon Redd's second album also did some major damage to the club play chart. Working with a new songwriting and production duo -- this time it's Eric Matthew and Willie Payne instead of Rodney Brown and Willie Lester -- but retaining François Kevorkian's invaluable mixing work, Redd comes out with an album that relies on a fair amount of electronics but loses little of the warmth heard on the less-machine-driven self-titled album. Some people argue that all warmth is lost when a drum kit is replaced by a drum machine, but labels like Prelude were releasing plenty of involving material during the early '80s that incorporated drum programming and synthesizers. The increasing reliance on synthetic instrumentation eventually spawned house music, and this record was part of that evolution. "Never Give You Up" and "Beat the Street" carry on in fine succession from the likes of "Can You Handle It," steeped in disco but never losing touch with song-based R&B roots. The non-singles help make the album add up to one that isn't as well-rounded as its predecessor. However, it's too good to qualify as a full-blown sophomore slump.