Music Monday: Lucy Pearl’s Anniversary

Lucy Pearl was not together long, but managed to put out one amazing record. The supergroup comprised of Raphael Saadiq, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Dawn Robinson was an epic collection of talent too big to fail. Lucy Pearl released their self-titled LP on May 23, 2000. Two days before their eighteenth anniversary, it is hard not to hope for a reunion from the amazing group that was Lucy Pearl.

Who was in Lucy Pearl?

Raphael Saadiq, Ali Shaheed Muhmmad, and Dawn Robinson came from Tony! Toni! Tone!, A Tribe Called Quest, and En Vogue. Each of those groups had landed albums on the top five of the U.S. R&B chart before recording Lucy Pearl. Robinson left the group after the album was released. She was replaced by Joi Gilliam. Joi appeared in two videos with the band, but never recorded with the group.

Lucy Pearl performing “Without You” – 

Snoop Dogg and Q-Tip were also on the Lucy Pearl album, although they were not in the group. They contributed vocals for the song “You.”

The group was originally supposed to include D’Angelo, but the star ultimately did not sign on for the album.

Lucy Pearl’s Sound

When listening to the sixteen songs on Lucy Pearl, I hear an amazing sense of feel in the music. That mostly comes from a tight rhythm section that is essential to any R&B record. The majority of the music leans towards the soulful side of R&B. Often a catchy grove backs laid back vocals.

The quintessential Lucy Pearl sound is on display in “Dance Tonight” and “Without You,” two songs with smooth vocals from Raphael Saadiq.

“Don’t Mess With My Man” is the best pop song on Lucy Pearl. Unlike “Dance Tonight” and “Without You,” “Don’t Mess With My Man” has a much snappier tempo. The track is a great throw down from Dawn Robinson, “If you mess with my man, I’ma be the one to break it to ya. Got my girls, got my man, so find your own and leave mine alone.”

The video for Lucy Pearl’s “Don’t Mess With My Man” – 

Other great songs on Lucy Pearl are “Everyday,” “Lala,” and “Can’t Stand Your Mother.”

Lucy Pearl’s Legacy

Lucy Pearl was certified as a gold record just three months after its release. Three singles were released from Lucy Pearl. “Dance Tonight,” “Don’t Mess With My Man,” and “You.” “Dance Tonight” cracked the Top 40 on the U.S. Hit 100 chart. The single spent nineteen weeks on the charts.

Lucy Pearl turned out to be the only album released by the supergroup, but the LP holds up over time. Like other neo-soul music from the era there are great R&B ideas that are enhanced by a hip-hop beat. Eighteen years after their only album came out, Lucy Pearl holds up as a great one-off record from an amazing array of musical talent.

 

This is the fifth post in a recurring series from the Flat Circle. Every Monday the Flat Circle will feature a new song, deep cut, or live track from my personal collection or travels on the Internet. The complete series can be found under the “Music” tab at the top of the page. For last week’s post on George Harrison’s version of “It Don’t Come Easy,” click here.

www.flatcircleblog.com is a Philadelphia pop-culture blog that covers television, music, podcasts, and movies. Follow along on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, or subscribe by e-mail to catch all posts. 

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