Late Nights with Maxi Priest

With the seasonal closure of the Poolside clubhouse, it's time to move on to Late Night -- the imagined soundtrack of a 2 A.M. rendezvous in the penthouse jacuzzi. This might pertain to smooth jazz or adult contemporary deemed too "fatherly" for the hipster contingent, but I assure you, there are some gems Late Night. Just give me a minute to find them.

Recently I was fortunate enough to find Maxi Priest's "Close to You" 12" for a mere $.50. A bargain for the dub mix alone. Maxi started his career as the "king of lover's rock" -- and lover's rock is to reggae as smooth jazz is to jazz. Basically it's reggae completely stripped of sunshine and replaced with moonlight, gentler rhythms, and endless proclamations of midnight booty calls. Maxi has taken the lover's rock one step further, stripping it of any remnant of reggae and injecting it with a soaring and catchy chorus -- a little infectious rap and this thing's a number one hit (no lie). This was a ubiquitous single in the summer of 1990, a period in music when any fringe genre could be compartmentalized into a pop song. Keep in mind this was a year when Glen Medeiros, Wilson Phillips, Tommy Page and Nelson all had number one hits. So in comparison, "Close to You" was golden in it's purity. For some reason I can't relate this to any scorching sunlight, only suburban darkness and island breezes. I'm sure I had this on a mixtape en route to Clearwater Beach.

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