Customer Reviews: Congo Square
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4.7 out of 5 stars83
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on June 9, 2009
Five HUGE Stars!! STUNNING performances!! Multi-Grammy-nominated singer, composer, arranger, producer, multi-instrumentalist Teena Marie has served up one of the best R&B/soul performances of her star-spangled musical career. Into her third decade of soulful music, this platinum-selling artist just keeps going and going. And she doesn't hold back on quantity, serving up a whopping 16 new original songs, including the teaser "Can't Last A Day" that generated a lot of pre-release sales on iTunes and landed the CD in Amazon's Top 10 pre-orders. This one should appeal to a broad spectrum of radio stations, including hip-hop, jazz, and 'quiet storm' as she goes from R&B to funk to hip-hop to rap to jazz to blues, and New Orleans roots which she discovered are a part of her family tree: so "Congo Square", a New Orleans historical area in the 'French Quarter', comes from that fact, but the CD is dedicated to her daughter Alia Rose Le Beau who performs on "Milk N' Honey". The CD, which she produced for Stax Records, has the highest of production values including some impressive photographs and each song under "Alia Rose Music" is dedicated to famous singers (Smokey, Marvin, John Lennon, Rick, Billie Holiday, etc..), social giants like Barak Obama, and "For all the Soldiers".

The 'best of the best' begins with the overpowering & lyrical performance of the title song "Congo Square" with keyboard wizard George Duke as guest in a sizzling performance that went straight to my iPod. The intimate love ballad "Lover's Lane" is an amazing 5-minute duet with Howard Hewett that recalls the glory days of the duets between Teena and the late Rick James. "Ms. Coretta" is a marvelous song with commentary on Dr King's wife. "Baby I Love You" is a sweet love ballad with lots of interaction with the background chorus. "The Pressure" has MC Lyte singing and rapping with 'Lady T' as they pour the heat on. A blazing "Ear Candy 101" has a sensual urgency. "Black Cool" is for the president. "Can't Last A Day" has Teena and Faith Evans in a sensational performance. "Marry Me" is a riveting love ballad dealing with 11 years of patient waiting. "Soldier Boy", with Shirley Murdock guesting, brings the reality of today's wars into focus in a wonderful song that is dedicated to the military overseas. Then there are the techno-linguistics of "Milk N' Honey" with "T" and featuring Gail Gotti & Teena's daughter under her performance name of Rose Le Beau, to whom Teena dedicates the song and passes "the torch". 30 years into her career Teena Marie's voice is as rangy and magical as ever with the wisdom of the years, her instrumental and composing skills are as sharp as ever, and she can rock and swing with the best of them. 'Lady T' has stayed 'in the soul pocket' her entire career and longtime fans have hung with her and will probably love this CD. Hopefully, the younger fans will catch up to her because this artist deserves much more recognition. My Highest Recommendation! Five BIG Stars!! (This review is based on an iTunes Plus download with digital booklet.)
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on December 27, 2010
When I first listened to samples from this CD last year, I thought to myself, "DAMN, Teena Marie still sounds FABULOUS!" And today I learn that she has passed away at the age of just 54. That's tragic. It's really sad to lose such a talent so prematurely. And make no mistake about it: Teena Marie was still recording, still performing, and she still sounded fabulous. The fact that radio considered her yesterday's news didn't change that fact. Teena Marie had much more talent than most of today's pre-packaged, over-produced, auto-tuned pop tarts. So I'm ordering this CD right now, and I hope sales of this recording go through the roof ... because it would be no greater tribute to such a unique voice.
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on December 26, 2010
The cd is classic Teena, but she's gone and I can't believe it. A black hole has been left in the music industry...lost without Lady T. Much love & comfort from Almighty God to her family and especially her beautiful daughter.
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on June 18, 2009
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on September 6, 2009
As a virtual lifelong fan of Teena Marie I must say that it is fantastic that she is still interested in putting out great music! The music on this album is a great balance of the ballads that I love to hear from her mixed in with a few hip hop references of today. Somehow when Teena sings a line about her man "poppin' his collar" at their wedding, it does not sound trite or like she's trying to hard to stay "down", it just sounds like the inimitable Lady T!

This album as others have mentioned is more in the vein of her last two releases in that the funky tunes that we love to hear from back in the day have been replaced by smoother r&b tracks. This isn't a bad thing because her songs still sound as relevant as anything that younger r&b divas are releasing (but better cause Teena can sing a lot of them off the planet).

The album gets off to a great start with 5 outstanding tracks:

THE PRESSURE f/ MC Lyte - I love how smooth both ladies sound on this track and the fact that the rapper doesn't overtake the track

CAN'T LAST A DAY f/ Faith Evans - love this duet. Teena's soaring vocals mixed with Faith Evans' laid back cool vocals

BABY I LOVE YOU - Lady Tee breaks out her rapping skills

EAR CANDY 101 - catchy lyrics & arrangement

LOVER'S LANE f/ Howard Hewett - wonderful pairing, it was great to hear Howard & Teena together

Other standouts to me are: MARRY ME, MILK N' HONEY (sung with her daughter, Alia Rose); YOU BABY; CONGO SQUARE; SOLDIER; MS CORETTA & THE ROSE N' THORN

Like I said, as a fan I appreciate the new music and think it's great that she is able to produce music that is still as relevant to me as the first songs of hers I ever heard!
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on February 23, 2011
Teena Marie's songwriting and her voice have never been better than on this, her final CD. It makes her loss even more tragic, that she was still working at the very top of her game.

For me, the songs get better as it goes along, but every one is good. Beautifully written, sung, produced, and recorded. She was criminally underrated and never got the recognition she deserved, as her protege and friend Lenny Kravitz said.

But this record stands as incontestable proof of what a unique, irreplaceable talent we lost last December. God bless her, and thank goodness she had time to complete this superb CD before she went to a better place ...
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on May 28, 2011
I picked this up because I knew it was her last cd before her untimely passing and I had always been a big fan of Lady T. I read the reviews and they all seemed positive so I took the chance.The irony of this cd is that "It's Lady T at her finest". She throws down from the first cut to the last with my favorite being " Can't last a day". The sad part is hearing the beauty of this womans soul and knowing I would never hear this angel again. All I can say is...If you're a fan of Teena Marie ...GET IT. She has sent her last message and it's worth hearing.
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on April 20, 2013
This is my first time listening to this cd as I am writing this review. What a wonderful experience to sit and bask in the beautiful voices on this album. Extremely well written all 16 tracks are an experience. Hopefully, Alia Rose will continue the legacy of wonderful r&b, so many artists can't really sing. But we know that she is very talented. Please purchase Beautiful and Sapphire too if you are new fan of Teena Marie.
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on February 17, 2015
One of the most underated artist that existed. Til this day I've never her any artist that sounds like Lady T. Too bad record companies didn't market her the way she so deserved. All the songs have Teenas signature is all over it. Purchase this one you won't regret it.
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on June 11, 2009
I love, love, love this CD it is classic Teena. I am never disappointed when I buy her music. But this CD by far is one of her best she has 16 songs and I like just about everyone one of them. That is rare that you buy a CD and like just about every song. Bravo!!!! she just keeps getting better. I love Harlem Blues, Ms. Coretta, Congo Square and Lovers lane with one of my other favorite singers Howard Hewett.

You can't go wrong with this CD buy it!!!
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