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The Revival by Tony! Toni! Tone!
Released: May 1990
Label: Mercury
It's tempting to dismiss Oakland Rn'B outfit Tony! Toni! Toné! as New Jack benchwarmers. After all, lead single "Feels Good" straight-jacks Teddy Riley's drums, lyrics and mild hip-hop embellishments. But the rest of the album does give a nod to classic Bay Area funk and hints at the subsequent innovations of key member Raphael Saadiq. Check out the irresistible bass line of "Oakland Stroke" or "The Blues." Even the massively popular slow jam "It Never Rains (in Southern California)" manages to escape the bleary, mawkish automaton vibe that at times defines the niche.
Sam Chennault

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