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"LADY T" RETURNS: A FANTASTIC, STAR-STUDDED PERFORMANCE BY TEENA MARIE
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.)