Luther Vandross – 1981 – Never Too Much
The debut solo album from Luther Vandross featured one outstanding song after another. Vandross concocts a bouncy, vibrant flow on his up-tempo numbers and an intimate, emotional connection on his moderate grooves and his lone ballad. The title track stormed up the Billboard R&B charts to number one where it remained for two weeks. The mellow groove of “Don’t You Know That” which checked in at number ten, was the second single. “Sugar and Spice” had less of an impact on the charts due to its short stay of six weeks. However, this feverish number gets all the juices flowing as does the unreleased “I’ve Been Working“.
Also featured on this set is the sentimental number “You Stopped Loving Me“. The song was written b nitially released by Roberta Flack; both versions stand tall. “A House Is Not a Home” is the only ballad, and an elegant one it is, written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David and originally sung by Dionne Warwick nearly 20 years prior. Vandross orchestrates a contemporary masterpiece with this vintage number. Though it was never an official release by the label, it’s a quiet storm jewel. In addition to his many music credits, Vandross was a featured guest vocalist with the progressive band Change. The same vocal savvy and smooth styling that the New York City native exhibited on songs like “Searching” and “Glow of Love” resurface here.
This is one of the better R&B albums of the early ’80s. AMG
A1 Never Too Much 3:50
A2 Sugar and Spice (I Found Me a Girl) 4:58
A3 Don’t You Know That? 4:01
A4 I’ve Been Working 6:35
B1 She’s a Super Lady 5:05
B2 You Stopped Loving Me 5:16
B3 A House Is Not a Home 7:07
By Det. Abilene
One of the best debut album of the eighties, Luther’s first solo album is an energetic masterpiece that soars from beginning to end without hitting a single false note. Luther was already producing all of his material, and he always seems to know exactly what a song needs. Everything is flawlessly arranged, with a perfect balance struck among the instruments, synths, and background vocals. Luther solely wrote six of the record’s seven tracks, and he had already mastered the art of crafting strong hooks, interlaced with non-cliched lyrics. It may surprise fans of Luther’s later, more laid back recordings, that the bulk of NEVER TOO MUCH contains up-tempo material.
The infectious title track is definitely the best-known track here, but every cut on this record is a classic. The post-disco dance tracks “Sugar And Spice” and “I’ve Been Working” are irresistible, and the harder sounds of “Don’t You Know That?” and “She’s A Super Lady” rival even the best funk recordings. Luther slowed things down with the touching mid-tempo “You Stopped Loving Me“, which brings us to the disc’s only ballad – and it’s the highlight among highlights. Luther’s gorgeous, heart-breaking rendition of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “A House Is Not A Home” is one of the most perfect marriages between a singer and a song. Luther recorded many more covers over the years, many of which were quite excellent, although he never surpassed the intimate power of his take on this classic.
Luther instantly connected with the public and had achieved a considerable fan base virtually overnight. NEVER TOO MUCH hit #19 on the Hot 200, and impressively reached Double-Platinum status in sales.
Do not miss his debut as simply Luther in 1976 on Cotillion, in our back pages here