For a song about a guy with empty pockets, this certainly sounds opulent! But its largesse of strings and brass is a little too showy, too ostentatious, at least compared to the understated richness of the sound the Stylistics achieved with Thom Bell. Even if this bling might be fake, “I Can’t Give You Anything…” is a fine record: Russell Thompkins Jr’s falsetto is as strong and lovely as ever – though sometimes he’s having to fight the turbulent backing when he could be soaring over something more sympathetic. That backing, by itself, is also good – arranger Van McCoy taking his delightful horn rhythms from “The Hustle” and beefing them up. The record ends up an intriguing and enjoyable mismatch, still slightly less than the sum of its high-quality parts.

Score: 7

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