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Album Review

Legendary James Brown music director and trombonist Fred Wesley worked with Los Angeles vocalist Grady Harrell on this mid-'80s album, but their collaboration didn't yield any fruit. Harrell actually sang well, but the songs, production, and arrangements were faceless and didn't generate any hits or attention.

Customer Reviews

Great singer, but poor productions!

For those of you that know the ATL Hip-Hop/R&B Group Brutha, know your history on how they got started (well actually it started from their pops, Grady Harrell). In 1979, Howard Hewitt was chosen over him to be the new lead singer of Shalamar, but it did'nt stop one of his protoges (Jeffrey Daniel) and Dick Griffey to secure him a solo deal with SOLAR's sub. label, Contellation (linked with MCS Records then) for his 1984 debut album, Mwana. No disrespect for the veteran James Brown trombonist, Fred Welsey, but Grady's vocals needed some better, updated producers, like from its the label juggernauts; Leon Sylvers III, Foster Sylvers, Bo Watson, and/or Joyce Irby! The album would'nt have been so horrible if those in-house guys (and girl) had a hand in some of the songs like the title track, "Lay It On Me," and "Make It By Yourself." While Grady's vocals was retro, yet still fresh; the music/production seemed very dated, even for 1984. The minor R&B hit single, "Belinda" was a standout on Mwana because of the calypso bleneded rock retro-soul flavor and the hyped up accompanying music video with him and a beautiful actress on the cruise ship. The video got play mostly on BET when the station was starting to cover up the concrete, but the video and the album was'nt promoted enough due to the poorly produced debut album that needed a higher lift that it had 25 years ago.


Born: Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Los Angeles vocalist Grady Harrell has been a professional since the age of nine, though he's never amassed many hits. His mother was in the Friends of Distinction, and Harrell formed Poppa's Results with his sister Raquel while in high school. Harrell became friends with Jeffrey Daniel and Jody Watley, and was barely nosed out for a spot in Shalamar by Howard Hewitt. Harrell signed with Constellation/Solar in the mid-'80s, and Fred Wesley produced his LP Mwana. Andre Cleveland, son of Rev. James...
Full Bio
Mwana, Grady Harrell
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