Ron Tyson has been a staple in R&B for more than 40 years, both as a vocalist and songwriter. Ron first came on the scene with Love Committee (formerly the Ethics) and later with as the lead tenor/falsetto for the iconic Temptations, making his first appearance with the group on the Motown 25th Anniversary television show in 1983. Since he began his stint with the Temps, Ron has enjoyed the third longest tenure of any member in the group, behind founding members Otis Williams and Melvin Franklin.
Ron takes a bit of that Temptations experience and flavor and adds it to the mix with his new album, Recipe 4 Love. The Philadelphia-born, Monroe, North Carolina-raised Tyson has created an adult contemporary album that’s infused with elements of 90’s Hip Hop-influenced R&B to give it a youthful adult appeal. Recipe 4 Love also brings in a strong 80’s retro vibe . The album is ripe with great lyrics from Ron and various writers, and in all honesty, the man can still blow.
Tyson has written for a number of great artists such as the O’Jays, Archie Bell & the Drells, Eddie Kendricks, the Dells, the Four Tops and Gloria Gaynor. With Recipe 4 Love, Ron Tyson brings back a time when men expressed both their machismo and vulnerability in their music, and he uses the romance element sorely missing in today’s R&B that will make past great music lover men proud. But the real treasure of Recipe 4 Love is the storytelling, which is fast becoming a lost art in today’s music world.
Musically, the production of Recipe 4 Love relied a bit heavily on electronic keyboards, with an unfortunate shortage of standout live instrumentation . But the producers were able to capture the essence, vibe and mood of what Tyson was looking to convey with the album, and it comes thru with each song, whether dance, mid-tempo, or slow ballad. Tyson gives you all three speeds, including a beautiful, tell-it-like it is duet with soul legend Freda Payne on “Before the Hurting Starts”.
Recipe 4 Love is a steady blend of old soul/R&B with New Jack sensibilities, and it works. The top-notch writing appeals to the experiences of the adult contemporary listener, and the vocals reel you into Ron Tyson’s web of the ups and downs of love and romance. That’s all you can ask for from an artist of Tyson’s measure, and somehow, I have a sneaking suspicion that I’ll be hearing some of the dance tracks at a grown folks’ party in the near future. Highly Recommended.
By Gabriel Rich