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That's What Friends Are For

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Album Review

The 1978 duet album That's What Friends Are For was far more of a highlight in Deniece Williams' career than it was in Johnny Mathis'. Nonetheless, it's well-done, lightly likable late-1970s adult contemporary R&B music, the two sparring sweetly and respectfully on upbeat, radio-friendly, easy listening soul tunes and romantic ballads. Gene Page's arrangements are pretty (and effectively) understated for the genre, and though the record doesn't boast any heavyweight classics, it did land a small hit with their cover of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's "You're All I Need to Get By." The 2003 CD reissue adds four bonus tracks, including their 1978 Number One hit "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late"; its B-side, a cover of Barry Gibb and Robin Gibb's "Emotion"; "Love Won't Let Me Wait," a Mathis-Williams duet from Mathis' 1984 album A Special Part of Me; and the previously unreleased "Without Us," the theme for the TV series Family Ties.


Born: 03 June 1950 in Gary, IN

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Deniece Williams grew up singing in a Pentecostal church, which was strict on the congregation listening only to gospel music. During the late '60s, she was a candy striper in a Chicago hospital. Outside of wanting a 1959 Thunderbird, she had no serious ambitions. Nontheless, she still had interest in listening to music. Her favorites were Carmen McRae for her diction and Nancy Wilson, who, for Williams, exemplified class and elegance. However, her mother, also a singer, was her idol. The Gary, IN,...
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That's What Friends Are For, Deniece Williams
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