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One reviewers opinion of "Back On The Block"

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Well-crafted and colorful masterpiece! , September 24, 2004


Reviewer:   Distant Voyageur "Nicholas Computer"


Without a doubt one of the most influencial musicians for the past 50 years as of this writing, Quincy Jones is one of the best musicians that on this planet and remains a great influence on music to this day.


His 1989 magnum opus entitled "Back on The Block" is unrivalled by almost everything else. The sheer number of singers and other stars who came aboard for this project is impressive! Starring a huge cast of old-time singers some of whom have sadly since passed away, rappers, and then yet-to-be pop stars this incredible masterpiece is without a doubt a contender for being one of the smartest, most creative, and energetic albums anyone has ever put out. While I don't want to sound too biased with this review but "Back On The Block" is my favorite African-American music album of all time. .


The party begins with a marvelous rap interlude entitled "Prologue (20's rap scene/ Quincy's Rap) which is a fun and energetic warm-up track featuring a wonderful rap dialogue that is really a lot of fun and highly joyous to listen. The title begins with a industrial metallic drum intro similar to that of the title track of Janet Jackson's dynamite "Rhythm Nation" and becomes a marvelous and energetic blend of rap, hip-hop with a New Jack Swing Spice. "I Don't Go For That" is similar to the previous and with a stadium-like New Jack Swing anthem with a fun Manhattan nighttime city feel. "I Don't Go For That" is a wonderful New Jack Swing classic with a highly danceable beat, wonderful melody.


"The Verb To Be" is a really humorous interlude with oddly amplified voice effects and really funny lines. The laughing voices merge into the track "We Be Doing' It". For all of the humor of "Verb" it perfect blends into the hip-hop rhythm and the song has a wonderful mix of R&B, blues, and dance all meshed together. If you're looking for great hip-hop music and for a testament for 1988-1991 being the Golden Era of this once-great genre, look no further. "The Place You Find Love" is one of my absolute favorite tracks on this album. It starts with a dramatic echoing Gospel voice and becomes a powerful Gospel anthem for the ages. The vocals by whoever is singing are absolutely incredible and do wonders for this track.


The next two-some track combo "Jazz Corner of the World" and "Birdland" to me are the apex of this album. "Jazz Corner" has a really perky Brazilian percussion and has a really cool hip rap verse. The groove of "Jazz Corner" perfectly merges into my absolute favorite song on this album "Birdland". This is without a doubt the best song Quincy has ever recorded and quite likely a candidate for the best cover-song I've ever listened to. With amazing bass lines and energetic trumpet horns similar from what one would hear from Phil Collins, the beat is just amazing and the song has a really awesome groove unrivalled by few other songs from 1989. "Septembro" is a sultry soulful instrumental jazz song with really unique chord shift and wonderful wordless vocals.


"One Man Woman" is a great and energetic dance song with a strong New Jack Swing style. "Tomorrow" is sheer and utter beauty featuring a barely teenaged then future-superstar Tevin Campbell singing on vocals and childrens choir. The song has a really positive, cheerful, and uplifting vibe to it.


The final track Secret Garden is one of the sexiest soul ballads of all time with a very Quiet Storm mood and featuring guest vocals from the late R&B crooner Barry White (I cried at the news of his passing) the create a beautiful nighttime closer to this illustrious masterpiece of an album.


This album is just about on the border of being utmost perfection. For all of the hard-work put into it's making this is without a doubt one of the greatest achievements in popular, rock, hip-hop, and rap music history. As of writing this review, I am absolutely horrified to see the term "Out of Stock" actually on this product! For such a stunning achievement that took so much work and was such a huge hit, I for one cannot believe that Warner Brothers don't even carry this album in their catalog anymore! What a terrible disgrace to music history, by denying many fans one of the most positive, smartest, most well-crafted albums that has ever been released.


Wherever you go, I highly urge you to hunt for a copy of this album and buy it without hesitation. If not, then you have no idea of the party that you might find yourself missing out on. Quite simply there's no other album like this nor will there ever be.

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Oh, boy!


Back on the Block is a beautiful album, I still listen to it a lot.


It's so diverse, it's like a smörgåsbord of 20th century music that connects the dots between seemingly different styles.

The amount of talent captured here is an incredible accomplishment - it's a like a who's who in music - and what's even more impressive is that it works so well.


Bruce, if there is something you'd like to say about the making of this fabulous album, I'm all ears! :thu:


What do we want? Procrastination!

When do we want it? Later!

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Originally posted by RaGe:

And the follow up album "Q's Jook Joint" is IMHO right up there too.

Agreed! Ever hear an earlier 'Q' album called "Gula Matari" from the late 60's or low 70's. Great record! It's hard for me to pick only one 'greatest album of all time' though! Too much great stuff's been done in all genres. "Sketches of Spain" (Miles and Gil Evans), "Giant Steps" John Coltrane, "What's Going On" Marvin Gaye, would be just a few contenders in my book. It's such a personal thing . It's like saying what's the greatest food of all time or something like that. "Back On the Block" though is one hell of an album, no question and without a doubt!
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