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If Only

Howard Hewett

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Album Review

Although Howard Hewett is best known for his contributions to Shalamar (which he joined in 1979 and left in 1985), the R&B veteran has actually devoted a lot more time to his solo career. By 2007, Hewett had been performing as a solo artist for 22 years, whereas he only spent six years with Shalamar (not counting his contributions to some occasional Shalamar reunion gigs with Jeffrey Daniel and singer Carolyn Griffey in England in the 2000s). If Only... marks Hewett's return to secular R&B (after providing a few gospel-oriented albums), and this 2007 release is clearly among his more consistent solo efforts. One of the things that makes If Only... a creative success for Hewett (who turned 52 on October 1, 2007) is the fact that he is being true to himself throughout the album. Hewett doesn't jump through hoops trying to make this 56-minute disc relevant to the hip-hop-drenched R&B scene of 2007 — there are no guest appearances by Jay-Z or 50 Cent — and instead of fighting to sound modern, Hewett simply concentrates on delivering an old-fashioned soul album that emphasizes ballads and romantic slow jams. Tracks like "Is This True Love" and "I"ll Be Right Here" don't run away from being old-school; they embrace it, which is a good thing because If Only... always sounds natural rather than forced, awkward, or contrived. Despite its secular orientation, If Only... is not without spiritual concerns; Hewett sets "The Lord's Prayer" to music and has no problem putting an R&B spin on John Lennon's "Imagine" (which is not a religious song per se but does, to a degree, reflect Lennon's interactions with Srila Prabhupada and the Hare Krishna sect). Nonetheless, If Only... is a romantic soul album first and foremost, and it is an album that — although not groundbreaking or terribly ambitious — is bound to please those who like Hewett as a love-minded crooner.

Customer Reviews

only one issue: it took way too long

hewett remains one of the best vocalists in the business, and unlike others he is unwilling to compromise on the quality of his material. he sings meaningful songs, and delivers them accordingly - sublimely. this era in music sees too few albums at this quality level. thanks mr hewett.

I'm a big Howard Hewett fan!

Howard, delivers a home grand-slam with this CD. If you don't have this in your bedroom music collection, it's a must have!!! Go Howie, If Only!

Emotionally Stimulating

Once again Mr. Hewett delivers! Each track does what it intends to do, connect emotionally. Allow yourself to feel the music. This is a view on relationships. Listen well, we might just learn something. Outstanding CD. I thank you Mr. Hewett. Continue your stride because you have the steam.

Biography

Born: October 1, 1955 in Akron, OH

Genre: R&B/Soul

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

Among the great pure vocalists of the urban contemporary era, Howard Hewett has seldom found material worthy of his tremendous skills. He grew up in Akron, Ohio and relocated to Los Angeles. Hewett danced on Soul Train, and became one-third of Shalamar with Jeffrey Daniel and Jody Watley in 1979. They had several big hits before Hewett departed for a solo career in 1985. He signed with Elektra, and his second single, "I'm for Real," was a number two R&B hit in 1986. The follow-up single, "Stay,"...
Full Bio

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