More on Arthur Russell
"It sounds balmy but provisional, with its cheap synths and half-swallowed guide vocals. Russell's singing always seemed to be mostly for his own enjoyment (when it creeps into 'Is It All Over My Face,' late in the song, the effect is like Glenn Gould humming along with The Goldberg Variations), but hearing it here almost feels like eavesdropping. 'Wild Combination' and 'Arm Around You' could have been demos for much-better singers' pop-soul hits around 1985--but we don't have those hits; we only have these sketches, thin with erasures and additions and re-erasures. Sometimes there's nothing more to them than a pitter-patter drum machine, a fluttering keyboard, Russell's tentative murmur. It's imperfect. Live with it. "
Russell is a terrific singer though--his "half-swallowed guide vocals" closer to John Martyn than Glenn Gould.