The first time I encountered a record by R.J.’s Latest Arrival, it was in a bargain bin at 2nd & Charles in Woodbridge, Virginia. The moment I saw their 1986 album Hold On, with its mid-’80s barbershop’s assortment of jheri curls on the back cover, I knew I had to have it (it helped that it cost less than three dollars).
The second time I encountered a record by R.J.’s Latest Arrival, it was in another bargain bin at another Northern Virginia record store, CD Cellar in Falls Church. This time it was their self-titled 1985 album–their third self-titled album, just for maximum confusion–and I didn’t buy it, because does anyone really need two albums by R.J.’s Latest Arrival?
Despite my sudden financial prudence, however, I’m still sort of fascinated by R.J.’s Latest Arrival. Maybe it’s their clumsy moniker, the meaning of which I still can’t quite parse despite way too much mental energy dedicated to the subject. Or maybe it’s the fact that they’re from Detroit, which always gives me a little swell of home-state pride–even if, like their fellow Michiganders Ready for the World, they seemed hell-bent on sounding like they were from Minneapolis. Whatever the case, they’ll always have a special place in my heart. And while “Off the Hook (With Your Love),” their biggest hit single from 1988, is unlikely to blow any minds–it’s bog-standard Late Jheri Curl, complete with its proto-New Jack beat–it’s a pleasant enough way to wind down our last week of Jheri Curl June. Check it out on the playlists below.