HERE IN WASHINGTON, we grow our own -- R&B, that is. Here's a sampling of the summer bumper crop of the hometown sound:
STACY LATTISAW -- "I'm Not the Same Girl" (Cotillion 7 90280-1). She's 19 now, with four albums under her belt, and as the title indicates, Lattisaw has gone from girl to woman, leaving behind the puppy love anthems and gimmicky bubblegum soul sound created for her by producer Narada Michael Walden. This new ballad-dominated collection, produced by Prince Street, is more adult-oriented but still lighthearted, with less reliance on electronics than Lattisaw's previous outings. Several songs, such as "Toughen Up," are entries in the "no more Ms. nice guy" arena. And Lattisaw's distinctive soprano has grown markedly in expressive ability.
CARL ANDERSON -- "Protocol" (Epic BFE 39889). Putting aside the hometown bias, this is still a truly impressive outing for actor/singer Anderson, whose previous efforts have gone largely unnoticed. Anderson, known mostly for playing Judas in the film "Jesus Christ Superstar," turns in a set of smooth, sexy stuff that sticks to the ears immediately and should be all over radio. The arrangements cannily borrow from Kashif's sophisticated synth settings, and on songs like "Somebody Up There Likes Me" and "Let's Talk," Anderson's controlled tenor radiates power and charm.
THE REDDINGS -- "If Looks Could Kill" (Polydor 823-324-1 Y-1). The Reddings include two Redding brothers (Otis III and Dexter, sons of late soul great Otis Redding) plus cousin Mark Lockett, a percussionist. On their slickest package to date, the three cook up a standard, if slightly thin, electrofunk sound, with a high danceability quotient (but little originality). Their choice of material is occasionally questionable -- "In Your Pants" is an extended dirty joke that falls flat on its backbeat.
VARIOUS ARTISTS -- "Go-Go Crankin' " (4th and Broadway 4001). This is the essential go-go primer, and an essential party record, including studio takes from nearly all of the sound's founding fathers. Included are such crowd- pleasers as Trouble Funk's "Drop the Bomb" and "Let's Get Small" (Trouble Funk plays at the 9:30 Club next Friday); Slim's anti-drug "Good to Go" (a good bet to be the theme song from the upcoming movie on the D.C. go-go scene); E.U.'s irresistible "Ooh La La La"; and "We Need Money," from Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers, the godfathers of go-go.
VARIOUS ARTISTS -- "Go-Go: The Sound of Washington, D.C." (London 820 238-1). Ironically, go- go has made a bigger splash in England than it has in its own country and hometown. This domestically available British import is as close as many of us will ever get to going o a go-go. The double-disc live collection has a hot you-are- there sound mix, with palpable congas and cowbells, James Brown-style scratch guitar and horns. In the comfort of your listening room, you get a taste of the sweaty, noisy, slightly ragged fun from Redds and the Boys (filling two sides with "Hittin' and Holding"), Virginia band Shady Groove's "On the Move" and Petworth's "Special Dedication."