Lost but not least! Robert Brookins – If You Only Knew (MCA)
Despite an impressive CV, Robert Brookins never quite reached the notoriety level of the (rare) multi-talented artist he truly was. Acknowledged by countless of his contemporaries as a singer, songwriter, musician, he never managed to build a high profile for himself.
“God moves in mysterious ways”, says the expression. And so does / did the record industry on many occasions. Why then? The reasons can be countless. From label structure changes leading to the appointment of a new A&Ring team for instance. To the lack of confidence regarding a project X or Y. If not some targetting mistakes. And the list goes on. All in all resulting in some inaccurate when not poor or inexistent promo.
Besides, how not to somehow think of Luther Vandross vocally speaking? And how not to mention the fact that Brookins built ‘If You Only Knew’ on a 4X12 rhythm pattern? That same one one can find for instance on Lenny Williams‘s ‘Shoo Doo Fu Fu Ooh!’. But also on Janis Ian‘s ‘Fly Too High’. Not to mention Stevie Wonder‘s ‘Isn’t She Lovely’… As many extra things which could explain why this gem didn’t make it at the end.
If you only knew… Well, you have no more excuse now with us bringing back to the surface this underrated blast from the past. Give it a listen and let us know how you feel…
I guess it won’t be an offense stating Sacramento, CA native Robert Brookins was probably best known for his drumming and production duties than as an artist on his own.
Singing at the age of 4, drumming at 5 and playing keyboards at 9, he performe in his own band – Little Robert & the Fondeles – at the age of 11. Eventually winning the Motown’s 1974 Soul Search Contest.
A regular collaborator of Earth, Wind & Fire and Stanley Clarke, the list of those he happened to work with stands as an impressive R&B who’s who. From George Duke to Roy Ayers and The Whispers. To Stephanie Mills, Deniece Williams and The Whispers. Not to mention Ramsey Lewis and Bobby Brown to name a few.
By 1981, he joined music group, Afterbach, with his brother, Michael (who played guitars), and sang lead vocals on the ‘Matinee’ album.
Gifted with a voice somehow reminding of Luther Vandross, Brookins has released a total of 3 albums. With his debut – ‘In The Night’ – back in 1986. An his last – ‘Something You Can Make Love To’ – in 2002 after a 14 years hiatus.
Robert Brookins sadly died of a heart attack on Apr. 15, 2009 in Elk Grove, CA at the age of 46.