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Howard Johnson – 1982 – Keepin’ Love New

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 Howard Johnson Keepin’ Love New is an ESSENTIAL album for anyone that ever loved the ‘Kashif/Paul Lawrence‘ sound of the early 80’s- tracks like Evelyn King’s -‘I’m In Love‘ or Melba Moore’s – ‘Loves Comin’ At ‘Cha‘ for example. If those ‘float your boat’, then you will simply squeal with delight at the similar sounding ‘So Fine‘, ‘Say You Wanna‘ and the (really soulful) title track (all singles).

The whole album though is a corker and ‘This Is Heaven‘ is another Kashif/Paul Lawrence dancer that will delight. ‘Take Me Through The Night‘ and ‘So Glad You’re My Lady‘ are both slightly straighter more uptempo funk tracks, while ‘Forever Falling In Love‘ is a nice ballad. Completing the record is the happy, jaunty and uplifting sing-a- long ‘Jam Tonight‘. 

A1 So Fine 5:32
A2 Take Me Through the Night 3:50
A3 This Is Heaven 5:22
A4 Jam Song 3:48
B1 Keepin’ Love New 4:05
B2 So Glad You’re My Lady 4:35
B3 Say You Wanna 4:44
B4 Forever Falling in Love 4:16

AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson

In the early to mid-’80s, few R&B producers were more prolific than Kashif. Whether he was working with Evelyn “Champagne” KingGeorge Benson, or Melba Moore, Kashif had no problem making an R&B recording sound great. Another artist who benefited from Kashif’s studio savvy was Howard Johnson, who debuted as a solo artist with 1982’s impressive Keepin’ Love New.

The Kashif sound – sophisticated and stylish, yet funky and not without grit — is all over this LP, which he produced with Paul Lawrence Jones and Morrie Brown. Johnson and Kashif prove to be a strong combination throughout this album; the addictive party jam “So Fine” (a Top Five R&B hit that Kashif wrote) is a gem, and album tracks like “Say You Wanna” and “So Glad You’re My Lady” are also quite memorable. 

Freddie Jackson fans should be aware that Keepin’ Love New also contains the first recorded version of “Jam Tonight“; Jackson’s better-known version didn’t come out until 1986. With this release, Johnson’s career was off to a promising start. It’s too bad the singer didn’t have more longevity.


R&B vocalist Howard Johnson started out in Miami, holding fort in local bars and clubs until the appearance of a life-changing business contact. That was Sandy Torano, a guitarist and producer associated with performers such as the Commodores and Phyllis Hyman. Johnson was his choice for a new vocal group and thus began the singer’s recording career. It was 1977, the group was called Niteflyte, and the label was Ariola. The project lasted for only two albums but created enough of a buzz for A&M to sign Johnson to a solo contract.

A trio of close associates -Kashif, Paul Laurence Jones, and Morris Brown -produced Keepin’ Love New (1982), Johnson’s solo debut; both “So Fine” and the title track did very well in the British market. The singer recorded two more albums for the label: Doin’ It My Way (1983), produced by The System, and The Vision (1985), some of which was handled by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. At the end of the decade, the singer returned to A&M as part of the duo Johnson & Branson with Regis Branson. In the interim, Johnson did some recording with singer Donna Allen.