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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soul Magic
From start to finish, Melinda Doolittle's new album, "Coming Back to You" is simply soul magic. Thirteen songs showcase her vocal range with an exquisite blend of gritty blues, Tina Turner-style rockers, smooth jazz (imagine Nancy Wilson but even better), and beautiful ballads reminiscent of "My Funny Valentine" which feature Melinda's rich velvety vocals set against...
Published on November 13, 2008 by J. Moffet

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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Forgettable Songs, Beautifully Sung
Of all the American Idol contestants, Melinda Doolittle has been my favorite. I knew she wouldn't win with her sophisticated song stylings, but I also knew she had a voice we could be listening to for the next century...something like a modern day Gladys Knight or Ella Fitzgerald. So I have been looking forward to her first album for some time.

First, let may...
Published on April 6, 2009 by Joshua Cohen


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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soul Magic, November 13, 2008
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This review is from: Coming Back to You (MP3 Music)
From start to finish, Melinda Doolittle's new album, "Coming Back to You" is simply soul magic. Thirteen songs showcase her vocal range with an exquisite blend of gritty blues, Tina Turner-style rockers, smooth jazz (imagine Nancy Wilson but even better), and beautiful ballads reminiscent of "My Funny Valentine" which feature Melinda's rich velvety vocals set against lush instrumental backdrops. Every song has as its foundation, soul, pure powerful heartfelt soul. Most albums have four or five "good" songs tops. This album has thirteen "incredible" songs, no duds! Each song is like a miniature tapestry, where Melinda paints a musical picture-story with her voice. If you're searching for an album you can play from start to finish, listen to over and over, and never tire of it, this one's for you.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melinda Doolittle's Debut CD, February 3, 2009
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This review is from: Coming Back to You (Audio CD)
"Let's get back to the fundamental things
Let's get back to the elements of style"

So sings Melinda Doolittle in the opening cut of "Coming Back to You", her debut CD. And get back she does, applying her impressive vocals to grooves, rhythms and melodies that span the best of the past, including songs from Robert Johnson (a scintillating "Dust My Broom", "Walking Blues") and Sammy Cahn (gorgeous renditions of "The Best of Everything", "I'll Never Stop Loving You" and "Wonder Why"). Other standouts include "It's Your Love", an outstanding "girl group" effort and "If I'm Not in Love", a song made famous by Faith Hill and reimagined as a soul burner. Few artists have the vocal chops of Melinda Doolittle, but it's her emotional connection to the material that makes her one of the best vocalists of her generation. This CD both satisfies and whets the appetite for more - five stars.
After listening to this CD for months, both in my car and on my home system, I have one recommendation for anyone who wants to understand how great Melinda is: Listen to "Wonder Why", the final song on "Coming Back to You".
It is just Melinda's voice, backed by a Fender Rhodes style piano. And her phrasing is astonishing - utterly beguiling. There are a few examples of an artist so completely inhabiting a song that it becomes a definitive version. Eva Cassidy's "Over The Rainbow" comes to mind, but where Eva's emotional center was one of human yearning so poignant as to break one's heart, Melinda's emotional center here is of the giddy feelings of first love; not a childish fantasy, but a mature appreciation of having the self-confidence to lose oneself in another. After being impressed with Melinda's star turn with "My Funny Valentine" on Idol, this performance proves that Melinda Doolittle was born to carry the Great American Songbook to a new generation.
All of the performances on "Coming Home to You" are great. "Wonder Why" is world class. Melinda, please do an album of standards and take your place as the Ella Fitzgerald of your generation.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Forgettable Songs, Beautifully Sung, April 6, 2009
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This review is from: Coming Back to You (Audio CD)
Of all the American Idol contestants, Melinda Doolittle has been my favorite. I knew she wouldn't win with her sophisticated song stylings, but I also knew she had a voice we could be listening to for the next century...something like a modern day Gladys Knight or Ella Fitzgerald. So I have been looking forward to her first album for some time.

First, let may say everything is beautifully sung and I still believe she could become a musical legend. However, I hate to say the choice of songs left me cold. I would have much preferred an album of standards like her brilliant interpretation of Roger and Hart's "My Funny Valentine." A voice of this power and ability needs proven songs that can stand up to it and this mediocre collection of undistinguished R&B numbers simply does not.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SIMPLY MARVELOUS, February 3, 2009
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This review is from: Coming Back to You (Audio CD)
I waited so long for this CD and was so afraid I would be disappointed since I was with David Archuleta and somewhat with David Cook's CDs. How wonderful to be entertained royally by Melinda - I knew there was a reason I voted for her all the way through - I sincerely love this CD and even more so, I hope she will put out more CD's with the Blues sound as well as some love ballads - she has done a great job on this CD and I will be awaiting more music for her - she was the winner of the season for my money and this CD is just proof of what a great voice she has - Good for you, Melinda - stand proud - this is a great CD with some really interesting song choices.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stellar Debut - Great gift for Valentine's Day, February 7, 2009
This review is from: Coming Back to You (Audio CD)
A stellar debut, perhaps one of the best I have ever heard.

Every song is executed with verve and with the deepest commitment to interpretations of the music that deftly connects, heart and soul, so essentially to the lyric.

The proof is in the impressive emotional range of Melinda's performances as she captures the feeling of being overwhelmed by love (Wonder Why), tenderness (I'll Never Stop Loving You), inspiration (We Will Find a Way), resilience and defiance (Dust My Broom, Walkin Blues), passion (It's Your Love, The Best of Everything), strength and perseverance (I Will Be), and longing (If I'm Not in Love).

It's all here, as it should be, in music rooted, deeply, in the rhythms of soul, rock, doo wop, blues and jazz. There's a depth to Melinda's singing that is rare to find in any artist, let alone one of her generation. The jazz interpretive, Wonder Why, impresses beyond belief as Melinda's colorful key changes and phrasing are impeccable; it's a song that reminisces the power of a love so transformative, it makes you cry.

It's no coincidence the CD is released the week before Valentine's Day. Get it for someone you love, someone who has lost a love, someone who wants to find love. No matter where you are in the matters of the heart, there's an emotion here that will speak to you.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Downtown Woman, March 30, 2009
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This review is from: Coming Back to You (Audio CD)
While not every track here equally grabs me, there are enough that have me hitting the repeat button to describe this as a very strong CD. Melinda's take on the Robert Johnson blues number "Dust My Broom" jumped out on the first spin & is currently zooming up my personal top ten. Melinda transforms the tune into an old-timey rocker and hits it straight on with her powerful vocals, "I don't want no man wants every downtown woman he meets; There are some no-good doers; They shouldn't be allowed on the street." The lyric reflects Russ Harrington's cover photography of Melinda in the middle of a busy city street. Likewise, with Robert Johnson's "Walkin' Blues," she rocks the bluesy track with a funky "doo-doo-wop" background chorus that polishes the tune to a glorious shine. The David Batteau opener "Fundamental Things" strikes a soulful tone on a classic performance, "Let's dance barefoot over broken glass, slither like a snake does through the wet cold grass." Doolittle grabs the tune "Declaration of Love" out of Celine Dion's hands and refuses to give it back with a stunningly powerful vocal. "Wonderful" and "If I'm Not In Love" are also strong tracks. "Coming Back to You" is an excellent beginning for this dynamic singer. Enjoy!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A long time coming, but worth every minute!, February 4, 2009
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This review is from: Coming Back to You (Audio CD)
Ever since children with multiple auto-dialers ruined any chance of Melinda Doolittle winning American Idol, fans of the talented soul diva have been waiting impatiently for her first studio album, and like all good things, it was worth the wait.
This is not your usual, quickly-thrown together mess to cash in on A.I. publicity; Doolittle has taken her time, selected the right songs and produced an album with an almost timeless quality.
Just buy it, now.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good old fashion soul music, May 2, 2009
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This review is from: Coming Back to You (Audio CD)
Melinda Doolittle makes me think of how music sounded in the 60's when Soul music was at its peak. She makes me think of Tina Turner, Mary Wells and Aretha as well as Nancy Wilson. She brings R and B back to its early roots. Fundamental Things makes me think of Ike and Tina's early work. This is a great CD and I am glad Melinda stayed true to a sound that works well for her. If you truely like Soul and R & b this the CD for You. Very good and some
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A distinctive yet versatile voice, March 6, 2009
By 
Michael Tierney (Big Ugly Creek, WV) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Coming Back to You (Audio CD)
One of the great drawbacks of contemporary R&B, even at its best, is the cookie cutter generic quality of much of what hits the radio--aerobic dance music or rap imitations.
What a pleasure to have an album that has a distinctive voice. Doolittle hearkens back to the best of 60s-70s soul--you can hear church roots in a way that we haven't heard much since Aretha's heyday, grit that's been missing since Tina (probably the soul idol she was most likened too during American Idol), and the smooth jazz tones that we haven't heard much of since Anita Baker or Natlie Cole, but really echo Dinah Washington.
That said, this album is all Doolittle's. I too look forward to music that from her in future years that include the My Funny Valentines or more gospel--but I am glad she did not take on any better known standards or church music this time out. The great limitation of Idol performances is that it is ultimately karaoke. In the case of Doolitte, great karaoke because she can take on any genre and make it her own. But you never fully get a sense of a distinctive artist's voice.

The consistency of this album is its great strength. Whether she is digging into Robert Johnson (the phenomenal Dust My Broom and Walking Blues), Sammy Cahn classic, but not overly covered standards, or lost gems like Fundemental Things-she has a genuine point of view--gutsy, passionate, vulnerable, but standing on her own two feet.

The song selection is terrific, but never obvious. Too often when contemporary artists cover standards, or even rock and soul classics,they offer pleasant enough takes--but you really have to question why you wouldn't just go back to Ella, or the original top 40 versions.

I don't feel that way about Doolitte covering Robert Johnson, and would hold up her version of Fundemental Things to Bonnie Raitt's (including her gentle Christian girl re write of the Bible quotes line -from Raitt's version "let's get bible quotes tattooed across both our hips" to "I'll whisper Bible quotes and you can read my lips.") That finally is a pleasant suprise from the considerable talent she showed on idol--a confident sensuality. She's still a good girl--but you can bet she's whispering the song of solomon and not revelations.

Buy this album. Don't pirate it--let her go up the charts and show the Idol producers that there is money to be made from distinctive music. I am so thankful that she wasn't one of the top two and didn't end up having a quick turn around album of generic pop.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Melinda is the real deal, March 21, 2009
By 
Shawn G. "tgstk2" (Albuquerque, NM USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Coming Back to You (Audio CD)
One thing is for sure -- Melinda Doolittle has oodles and oodles of a certain magic in her voice that comes from a rare kind of authenticity that does not come around all that often. Ms. Doolittle has a special way of making you feel what she is feeling when she sings the lyrics. She is just a natural born songstress, somewhat like Billy Holiday who could immediately take a song and sing it like nobody else.

On this, her first full album, Doolittle takes several "retro" genres and updates them with some modern techniques and twists -- nothing really experimental, but just enough to keep the album sounding fresh. I think this entry into the world of professional popular music is a solid start to what will hopefully end up being a long and notable career for Ms. Doolittle. From the first several spins, this CD has grown on me upon every single listen and my favorite track has changed at least three times.

Give Melinda's CD a listen and don't be afraid to turn up the volume. It's an easy listen but has a substantial amount of emotional depth to hold up over time. And, let's not understate it -- with this release, Melinda proves that her vocal prowess competes with any other female pop, R&B, or gospel artist out there right now. In the future, I hope Melinda turns to do a true jazz album to show just how far her vocal talents can stretch.
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Coming Back to You
Coming Back to You by Melinda Doolittle (Audio CD - 2009)
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