Artist: Bobby Nunn
Album: Second To Nunn
Quality: mp3, 192 kbps
She’s Just A Groupie (6:59)
Get It While You Can (5:30)
Got To Get Up On It (4:04)
Sexy Sassy (4:05)
The Party’s Over (5:39)
You Need Non-Stop Lovin’ (5:42)
Never Seen Anything Like You (4:51)
Keyboardist/singer/songwriter Bobby Nunn is mostly known through an association with Rick James, and like James, also hails from Western New York stronghold Buffalo; his brother Billy, even co-wrote “Mary Jane”, one of Rick’s signature tracks. Nunn’s musical career had started long before meeting up with Rick James in the ’70s; as a teenager, he was part of the soul-singing duo Bob & Gene, released on MoDo Records, owned by the Nunn family. In the 2000s, these sides were discovered by collectors, and eventually released by Daptone Records as an anthology, with the blessing of the Nunn family. After meeting up with James in the late ’70s, Nunn also struck a meeting with Earth, Wind and Fire’s Phillip Bailey, who was enthralled with some demos Nunn, his brother, and the band had put together. The result was a band named Splendor, whose self-titled album was released by Columbia via EWF’s Kalimba Productions in 1979.
After Splendor came and went, Bobby struck a deal with Motown, working with Iris Gordy, who is largely credited with bringing Rick James to the label in the late ’70s. Second To Nunn, Bobby’s first solo record, hit the streets in 1982, shortly after the monster success of Rick James’s Street Songs, an album that cast a shadow over whatever else was released on the record at the time (not to mention much of everything else). Most of the songs were either solely written or co-written by Bobby, who co-produced the album with Winston Monseque, who had scored successes with Tata Vega on the label.
With Second To Nunn, Bobby’s songwriting and ever-steady and smooth falsetto is put to the test; many of the songs may remind you of Rick James songs, if Prince in the late ’70s were singing them. In the early ’80s, that should have been a winning combination, especially with the strength of Bobby’s songcraft; this record yielded at top 15 hit in “She’s Just A Groupie” (a humorous funk number that references Michael Jackson, Prince, and Stevie Wonder in the lyrics). “Get It While You Can” is a perfect piece of early ’80s groove that somehow evokes the modern soul sound Motown was promoting in the early ’80s from Rick James, the Commodores, Teena Marie, and DeBarge. “Sexy Sassy” is a falsetto-ed out number that sort of sounds like late 1970s Prince (especially vocal). The lone ballad on the record, “The Party’s Over” sounds so much like a Rick James song, at least in the Eddie Levert-esque vocal phrasing that one might wonder if this song was something Bobby had demo-ed for Rick and decided to save for his own project. The groove of “You Need Non-Stop Loving” may remind you of Dazz Band’s “Let It Whip”. This is all to say that the record isn’t a completely derivative affair; Nunn’s way of stringing these songs together make sure not to take you out of the “reminds you of” box as some in this era were tempted to do (Allen A. Jones, we’re looking at you). All in all, an enjoyable funk record, with synthesizer play that might make you think a bottle of curl activator is somewhere near.