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Who? (album)

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Who? (album)

Who?
Studio album by Tony! Toni! Toné!
Released October 25, 1988
Recorded Moon Studios, Sacramento
Genre R&B, new jack swing, soul[1]
Length 44:26
Label Wing, Mercury
Producer Denzil Foster, Thomas McElroy
Tony! Toni! Toné! chronology
Who?
(1988)
The Revival
(1990)
Singles from Who?
  1. "Little Walter"
    Released: 1988
  2. "Born Not to Know"
    Released: 1988
  3. "Baby Doll"
    Released: 1988
  4. "For the Love of You"
    Released: 1989
The song's lyrics make reference to California Penal Code Section 261.5, the state's statutory rape law.[2]

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Who? is the debut album of American R&B group Tony! Toni! Toné!. It was released on October 25, 1988 by Wing Records and was produced by Foster & McElroy, with whom they were friends from their native Oakland, California.[3] They recorded the album at Moon Studios in Sacramento.[4]

Upon its release, Who? received mixed reviews from music critics and was a modest commercial success. It only reached number 69 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums, although it charted for 44 weeks and produced the number-one R&B hit "Little Walter". The album was eventually certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, for shipments of 500,000 copies in the United States, and had sold over 700,000 copies by August 1993.

Commercial performance

The album was a modest success.[3] It charted for 44 weeks on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart, peaking at number 69,[5] and produced four singles, including the R&B hit "Little Walter". On December 5, 1989, the album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for shipments of 500,000 copies in the United States.[6] As of August 1993, it has sold over 700,000 copies in the US.[7]

Critical reception

Ken Tucker of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the album two out of four stars and described its music as "fairly conventional pop rhythms attractively crooned", but complimented its "odd influence [...] 'Little Walter', derives its melody from the old Ramsey Lewis pop-jazz instrumental hit 'Wade in the Water'".[8] Joe Brown of The Washington Post found the group's voices "[un]impressive" and stated "while their very basic harmonizing over the spartan drum-machine patterns on 'Baby Doll' and 'For the Love of You' are probably serviceable on the dance floor, they'd be deadly dull from a concert seat".[9]

In a retrospective review, Allmusic editor Ron Wynn gave the album three out of five stars and asserted that the group "made a quick and lasting impact with" the album, particularly with its single "Little Walter", stating, "It proved a huge R&B hit and got moderate pop attention, and it helped establish the trio and their creative mix of vintage soul and contemporary hip-hop and new jack production".[1] Fred Schuers of The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004) gave it two-and-a-half out of five and observed the group's "wit" on tracks such as "Little Walter" and "Born Not to Know", but stated, "these moments are so pointed they leave the disc's love ballads sounding flat".[10] Yahoo! Music's Scott Wilson commented that it was "a very solid debut, with the groundwork for what would follow, but they're just getting their bearings. Did spawn a number one R&B hit with 'Little Walter', but not the juggernauts their later work would be".[11]

Track listing

All songs were written by Denzil Foster, Thomas McElroy, Timothy Christian Riley, Raphael Wiggins, and D'Wayne Wiggins, except where noted.[4]

  1. "Baby Doll" — 5:40
  2. "For the Love of You" — 5:29
  3. "Who's Lovin' You" — 4:17
  4. "Born Not to Know" (Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy) - 4:42
  5. "Little Walter" — 4:50
  6. "Lovestruck" — 4:29
  7. "Pain" (Timothy Christian Riley, Raphael Wiggins, D'Wayne Wiggins) — 5:40
  8. "261.5" (Timothy Christian Riley, Raphael Wiggins, D'Wayne Wiggins) — 4:04
  9. "Not Gonna Cry for You" (Timothy Christian Riley, Raphael Wiggins, D'Wayne Wiggins) — 5:15

Personnel

Credits for Who? adapted from liner notes.[4]

  • Elijah Baker – musician
  • Michael Bays – art direction
  • Tim Christian – musician
  • Ed Eckstine – executive producer
  • Denzil Foster – arranger, producer
  • Antron Haile – musician
  • David Houston – engineer
  • Ken Kessie – mixing
  • David Lombard – executive producer
  • Thomas McElroy – arranger, producer
  • Herb Powers – mastering
  • Jennifer Reiley – photography
  • C. Thompson – design
  • Carl Wheeler – musician
  • D'Wayne Wiggins – musician
  • Raphael Wiggins – musician

Charts

Album

Chart (1988)[5] Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Top Pop Albums 69
U.S. Billboard Top Black Albums 14

Singles

Song Chart (1988) Peak
position
"Little Walter" U.S. Billboard Hot 100[12] 47
U.S. Billboard Hot Black Singles[12] 1
"Born Not to Know" U.S. Billboard Hot Black Singles[13] 4
Song Chart (1989) Peak
position
"Baby Doll" U.S. Billboard Hot Black Singles[14] 5
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play[14] 44
"For the Love of You" U.S. Billboard Hot Black Singles[15] 6

References

  1. ^ a b Wynn, Ron (August 1, 2003). Who? - Tony! Toni! Toné! | AllMusic: Review. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2011-06-17.
  2. ^ Tony! Toni! Toné!. "261.5", Who?, Mercury, 1988.
  3. ^ a b "From Tonies to Townies - Hot Soul Stars Tony! Toni! Tone! Warm Up for a National Tour in Their Hometown".  
  4. ^ a b c Who? (CD liner).  
  5. ^ a b Who? - Tony! Toni! Tone! | Billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved on 2011-06-17.
  6. ^ RIAA - Recording Industry Association of America. Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved on 2011-06-17.
  7. ^ "13 CLASS ACTS".  
  8. ^ Tucker, Ken (May 1, 1988). Divinyls Are Back After 3-year Leave - Philly.com. The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved on 2011-06-17.
  9. ^ Brown, Joe (August 19, 1988). "The Way Ta Do It? Like You, Hewett".  
  10. ^ Rolling Stone (2004), p. 818.
  11. ^ Wilson, Scott (January 1, 2000). Tony! Toni! Toné! Reviews on Yahoo! Music. Yahoo! Music. Archived from the original on 2011-06-17.
  12. ^ a b Little Walter - Tony! Toni! Toné! | Billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved on 2011-06-17.
  13. ^ Born Not to Know - Tony! Toni! Toné! | Billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved on 2011-06-17.
  14. ^ a b Baby Doll - Tony! Toni! Toné! | Billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved on 2011-06-17.
  15. ^ For the Love of You - Tony! Toni! Toné! | Billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved on 2011-06-17.

Bibliography

External links

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