As we enter the home stretch of Summer Slow Jams, we take a look outside our usual Slow Jams, Smooth Grooves and Time-Life series. This week, the SPG series Slow Jams gets the call-up. Comprising of four albums that were issued over the course of a decade, from 1995 through 2005, no new ground is covered in the song selection as 95% of the tracks have been on other albums featured here. If you own any of the other collections we've covered here on Summer Slow Jams, these are definite non-purchases. However, if you are hankering to add the first one or two slow jams discs to your physical or digital libraries, you could do worse than any of these four albums, presented below in order of their original release date.
Nine of the sixteen songs on Slow Jams (1995) are favorites of mine and I'd consider four of them among the greatest slow jams of all time. (But the World Class Wreckin' Crew??? Come on, man. Put the bar that low and "Knockin' Da Boots" will be sneakin' in the back door.) For whatever reason, Jermaine Jackson's "Do What You Do" spoke to me as I played this one. I prefer my romantic songs on the happy tip but this one gets a pass. Bonus: the video features the beautiful Iman as the object of his desires.
There are four of my favorites on Slow Jams Volume 2 (1997) and none of them is that damn "Knockin' Da Boots" which I warned y'all would sneak in if we let World Class Wreckin' Crew in. The biggest crime, the most egregious personal affront is sequencing the former song ahead of the certified classic "Always And Forever." The best slow jams mixes can just be started and played and all the way through. This one, you have to skip tracks or program them not to play at all - remember doing that, programming the play order of tracks on a CD or CDs in a changer? Klymaxx's "I Miss You" hit a personal note this week as my dance partner was on other side of the country for four long days and four very long nights. I know the song is about the aftermath of a break-up and we were just apart for work but still.
The first five tracks on the ambitiously titled Best Of Slow Jams (2003) are spectacular in my book. The album is a double disc set and the second disc is nearly as strong as the first. My favorite sequence on Disc Two, as disjointed as it is, is the one running from D'Angelo through The System to the Art of Noise.
Slow Jams 3 (2005) is also a double disc in need of a trim and a shave to turn it into a passable single disc. The in-comparable pairing of Bill Withers and Grover Washington Jr. on "Just The Two Of Us" continues to pay dividends for listeners and lovers everywhere even thirty-five years after it was first released. It is truly a timeless treasure. Danger! Beware of track 19 on the playlist above!