_ What can be said about this group and this album? For starters the timing could not have been any better: House was starting to gain national attention and the release of this album paved the way for Chicago artists to get their props. This is one of the greatest House albums ever made. It is the culmination of years of of blood, sweat and tears in the Chicago underground circuit, particularly on the part of the album's writers and producers: Byron Stingily and Marshall Jefferson. Byron had been laying down vocals for independent label Bright Star since at least 1986. Marshall championed the use of real instruments, the continued use of the classic 70's disco sound and the creation of real "songs" in House music. He was without a doubt one of the hottest producers for the independent Trax label. When Ten City released "Devotion" on Atlantic in 1987 it was the beginning of a special time for the Chicago Scene. Later on, the release of the album solidified Marshall Jefferson as a name to be reckoned with in the producing arena and Ten City as a legitimate House group. The album "Foundation" is packed with just plain good music. "That's The Way Love Is" has a lovely bassline, excellent orchestration and great harmonized vocals. Add the lyrics that anyone young or old can relate to and you have a timeless classic. "Suspicious" has Marshall Jefferson written all over it. Hypnotic bassline and smooth vocals. And let's not forget those lyrics that are very 'real'. "Satisfaction" is one of my favorite tracks on the album, simply because it speaks to my soul. This is another classic Marshall Jefferson output. All of the elements are there and mixed together to perfection -- simple bassline and melodies, real instruments, powerful lyrics and the classic 70's disco sound. My other favorite track is "For You". I think it is safe to say that this has to be a favorite of anyone from the New Jersey area -- it has that sort of flavor! Again the elements are there and tightly woven to make you dance! The album is awesome and would make a great addition to your music library. Don't just take my word for it; these guys even made an appearance in the May 4, 1990 edition of USA Today, Section D. I remember this because I still have the article - laminated!

State of Mind

_ "State Of Mind" comes a a slight disappointment, only because the previous album "Foundation" set such a high standard. It's safe to say that Ten City may have peaked too soon! However, there are still some redeeming tracks on this album. The Marshall Jefferson element is still very present especially in "Destiny". This has the elements that made Marshall one of the hottest producers in the early years -- classic 70's disco sound, real instruments and 'real' lyrics. "Nothing's Changed" is another interesting track. Here we have a salsa groove combined with the subtle jazz/funk bassline, reminiscent of the sound of Salsoul Records. The other thing here is that we have the instrumental appear three tracks before the vocal; nice teaser! "Superficial People" is the track that will definitely stand the test of time (so much so that it was covered by House icon Kenny Bobien in 2001). In a nutshell the album is not a dance floor-driven project, but it is still has good music and is easy to absorb.

No House Big Enough

_ Oftentimes when an artist or group makes a change regarding the record label or writing and production staff the resulting sound quality is very evident (and in many cases for the worst). This wasn't entirely the case here. Ten City remained in the Atlantic camp by moving to East/West but they took a more active role in writing and producing, while including other producers. Marshall Jefferson had no tracks to produce this time. As a result this album was a coming-of-age for Ten City. "My Peace Of Heaven", produced by the legendary Def Mixer David Morales, is yet another timeless Ten City classic. It has powerful lyrics that are "real". "Only Time Will Tell" is another future classic, simply because of the 12" mixes. "She All That And More" has that Jersey-sound that had become a standard for Ten City. "Come This Way Again" is a nice down-tempo jam. "School Me" is a really smooth slow jam. "Deep Kiss" picks up the pitch and we see the jazz influence that was popular in Chicago House in 1992. "All Loved Out" has the obvious Chicago influence, with additional production by the trio of 4 On The Floor Productions, a long-time favorite of mine. "You'll Never Know Lonely" has the Jersey influence, with additional production by Smack; this track slams! "You Need A Love Of Your Own" is slick! The bassline is simple but effective and the lyrics are pretty straightforward. Then there's "Midnight", and what a groove! The chords are jazzy, and I mean JAZZY! And we even get treated to a little rappin' and some scat. Finally we have "Thick & Thin", produced by the hardest working dj in the underground: Kerri Chandler. This track has Kerri written all over it especially in the heavy bassline; it also uses elements of the timeless classic "Devotion". This album is a must have for any House fan; if you are a devoted Ten City fan you'll definitely want this one. The tracks are sizzling hot and won't disappoint.

That Was Then, This Is Now

_ For this album Ten City fans would get a bit of a surprise and a letdown. To start with there is a different label, Columbia. This may have affected their sound. They lost the "edge" that was prominent in their first three albums. However, all is not lost. "Fantasy" is featured in two different versions but I must say that the Demo version is all House. "Love In A Day" has the Ten City style of vocals. "Interlude: Then" is a smooth mid-tempo housey track that has a slight 70's flavor to it. "Under You" carries the same style, and if I had 2 vinyl copies I'd try to mix these tracks. "Interlude: Now" is very mysterious, in true Chicago fashion. I mentioned that this was a letdown for House fans -- that doesn't make it a bad album! The R&B tracks are quite nice, especially "All This Love", co-produced by the Masters At Work. If you're looking for an even mixture of dance tunes and R&B this album is a safe choice. Actually rating: 3 1/2 stars.