The last week or so of Jheri Curl June is always a bittersweet experience, because with each passing day you’re reminded of the genre’s impermanence. Like the beautiful, delicate flower it was, Jheri Curl Music bloomed for only a short time; by the end of the ’80s, it was all but a distant memory. But even these waning years, there were still echoes of the J.C.M. glory days to be heard.
My wife introduced me to one such echo, “Roses Are Red” by Flint, Michigan’s own Mac Band, the other day. Led by singing brothers Charles, Derrick, Kelvin, and Ray McCampbell, the group were signed to MCA Records in 1986 after winning that year’s Budweiser Showdown, a nationwide talent contest organized by the Houston-based Starstream Records. “Roses Are Red” was the third and most successful single from their 1988 debut album, which was confusingly titled The Mac Band Featuring the McCampbell Brothers and produced by multi-year JCJ alums L.A. Reid and Babyface, with musical contributions by David Lewis of Atlantic Starr.
Like other LaFace productions of its vintage, “Roses Are Red” captured a transitional moment, with the hard-hitting drums (played by L.A. himself) heralding the coming of New Jack Swing. But just watch the video above, which looks like a group of uncles getting a few wine coolers deep and spontaneously trying to recreate Prince‘s video for “When Doves Cry”; these guys clearly had one foot in the mid-’80s, and you know what, I celebrate them for that.
We’ll close out this year’s edition of Jheri Curl June next week! In the meantime, here are the playlists: