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Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Disc has one faint minor scrach, otherwise it is clear/like new. In jewel case with artwork and insert all in very good condition. Case insert has some wear and a small tear on back but still holds up well. Listened to in full, and plays clearly. From a private collection. UPC 602498509616
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Before Me

67 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 3, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

With Before Me, the legendary Gladys Knight delivers a heartfelt and very personal tribute to the great vocalists who were her early role-models Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, Mahalia Jackson with incandescent performances of twelve great songs they made popular. Gladys Knight is one of the world's most beloved and best-selling pop music icons Before Me, Knight's first recording of classic American song repertoire, shows her at the peak of her vocal and interpretive powers. An exceptional production by Tommy LiPuma and Phil Ramone make this a Rolls-Royce of a vehicle for one of today's greatest ladies of song. Gladys Knight's two previous releases were both Grammy winners: At Last (2001) was Best Traditional R&B Album and her 2005 gospel CD, One Voice, won Best Gospel Choir Album.

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By now, the list of late-career standards-coverers stretches a mile long--in addition to Rod Stewart, Barry Manilow, Smokey Robinson, and a host of less-successful others, add Gladys Knight to the tally. Don't just lump her in, though, because Before Me differs from its forebears in ways that won't let you forget it. Here is a flawlessly selected and executed exercise in nostalgia for all the right reasons: Knight, in a voice entirely undiminished, extracts the elegance from each of these legendary numbers and smears it all over the surface, something most listeners would expect only from a master stylist on the order of Tony Bennett. Yet the former Pip leader presides with a light touch. Replacing the powerful pop-soul that launched her legend with the swankiest, most black-tie jazz imaginable, she whispers her way through George and Ira Gershwin's "The Man I Love" and the candy-sweet lament "I'll Be Seeing You." Elsewhere, she smokes up the Lady Day classics "Good Morning Heartache," "The Man I Love," and "God Bless the Child," unintentionally turning the latter into a master course of vocal restraint. If "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)" is the disc's wild card--Knight plays it light--the Duke Ellington stunner "Come Sunday," made popular by gospel legend Mahalia Jackson, is its five-star clincher: Knight punches her way through tirelessly, with a true believer's fervor. --Tammy La Gorce

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
  1. Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me 3:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. The Man I Love 4:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. Good Morning Heartache 4:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Since I Fell For You 3:52$1.29  Buy MP3 
  5. God Bless The Child 4:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. This Bitter Earth 4:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good) 4:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Someone To Watch Over Me 4:55$1.29  Buy MP3 
  9. But Not For Me 4:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. I'll Be Seeing You 3:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. Stormy Weather 4:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
12. Come Sunday 5:35$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 3, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Verve
  • ASIN: B000F0UZTQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,449 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Dinah Blair on November 10, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I still love Gladys - whenever and for whatever reason she opens her mouth - but, for some reason, I can't get Gladys and these songs to do justice to each other. There's some verve missing, and it may be technique...or it may be that the orchestration and arrangements here are too "finished" for this gutsy and raw soul diva. There are many other Gladys things I like so much better.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful By saint james on October 11, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I love Gladys Knight's voice. Of all the ladies who were considered her contemporaries in the 60's and 70's she sounds the best. She sounds more like herself than Patti, Diana, Aretha, Dionne, Chaka, Natalie and many others.
Regarding this CD I was somewhat suprised. Verve is a label that is widely known as a jazz label. I don't hear anything that approaches jazz on this project. Gladys does a good job lending her style and dusky voice to some standards but I can almost see her struggling to find a tighter melody line closer to her gospel and R&B roots. The project feels a little awkward to my ears. I don't think Gladys ever dropped into the right pocket on this project. It is not for lack of effort becqause she sings beautifully here; she just does not bring to the table what was needed. Her almost gospelized version of "God Bless the Child" is the purest example of the point I am trying to make. There are 2 songs on which this was particularly frustrating for me; "Do nothing Till You Hear From Me" and "This Bitter Earth". On these Gladys just seems a little out of the groove. I think her take on "Good Morning Heartache" is very good. It's bluesy and smokey; you can feel the resignation the lyrics intend. She comes close to ruining it with her ad-libs and commentary which kinda lightens the mood. Diana Ross's version is more plaintive and is the winner to my ears. All in all its a good job from a r&b and gospel (of late) chanteusse. The best of the lot to my ears are "Stormy Weather" and "Come Sunday". She sounds the most convincing on the latter where she is clearly in touch with her origins. Though I did keep hearing Mahalia's version in the background of my mind. Gladys may have loved and respected these great women of song but she never really approximates their depth or interpretations.
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Format: Audio CD
This CD represents Gladys Knight's latest effort to move in new directions while she pays tribute to some of the greatest musical artists who ever came before her. The result is a beautifully prepared and touching tribute album with lush musical arrangements, Gladys in excellent form and a certain emotional experience that is rather difficult to put into words.

The CD opens strong with "Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me." This song with its beautiful musical arrangement draws in the listener and leaves them already very hungry for more. Gladys is very precise about where she accentuates a syllable and where she lets words slide more gracefully. "The Man I Love" follows; this is a timeless classic and a personal favorite of mine because it is so romantic. As Gladys says, this type of classic will never die. It is too pure, too pristine and too universal to ever leave us.

Other songs I particularly like on this CD include "God Bless The Child;" Gladys' beautiful rendition of "This Bitter Earth" which was made famous by Dinah Washington; "Someone To Watch Over Me" which highlights the universal human need for love and protection; "But Not For Me" with its mournful longing for a special someone to enter her life; the romantic "I'll Be Seeing You" and "Stormy Weather" which was made famous by Lena Horne in the MGM movie entitled Cabin In The Sky.

The sound quality is excellent throughout the CD. The liner notes provide an excellent essay by none other than Gladys Knight herself as well as some beautiful photos of Gladys. Wonderful!

You may go to the store and see on the shelf a version of this CD that includes a video interview with Gladys Knight. This interview is excellent and I highly recommend it.
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37 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Danniray99 on February 9, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
With "Before Me" Gladys Knight's tries her hand at a number of classic pop standards and show tunes from the 30's, 40's and 50's previously sung by legends such as Dinah Washington and Billie Holiday. Despite the album's high production values, the result is a very mixed bag--although Knight is consistently engaged from start to finish. The album kicks off promisingly enough with the lively strut of Duke Ellington's "Do Nothing Till You Hear from Me." But then the rest of the CD slides into mush: the tempos of most of the songs are slow and there is a sameness to her sound here that quickly bores. One MAJOR problem is that when you hear Knight's ill-advised covers of songs like "The Man I Love," and "Stormy Weather," you are constantly reminded of the much better renditions by Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horne. It's an unfair but inevitable comparison. More than anything, "Before Me" exposes Knight's limitations: most of the songs require a kind of lightness, an instrumental smoothness, or at least some facility with jazz vocalizing (i.e., scat singing) that she just doesn't have. At her best, Gladys Knight is a first-class R&B singer with a gospel-inspired soul that can rock just about any house. Her greatest songs--"I heard it through the Grapevine," "Friendship Train" and the riveting "Midnight Train to Georgia"--were powerhouse anthems that were at once feisty and vulnerable. "Neither One of Us" (one of the very best pop ballads from the 70's)also showed off Knight's warm, smoky contralto to wonderful effect. In fact, throughout the 1970's and early 80's, Knight showed that she could be a surprisingly versatile (and effective) stylist within the soul, R&B and pop arenas. However, "Before Me" makes it abundantly clear that she is NOT an effective interpreter of jazz standards. I really wanted to like this CD, but I came away feeling that Gladys Knight is out of her depth here and should stick to what she does best.
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