R and B ~ Soul CDs

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R & B ~ Soul

Editor, Elizabeth Mendez Berry © 2001 and associate ncdn associates of,bn,tower,cdnow

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    POSTED 1 AUGUST 2001

    "Songs in A Minor" Alicia Keys
    ...available here.
    The voice of 20-year-old phenomenon Alicia Keys communicates a wisdom well beyond her years on her debut, "Songs in A Minor." That luscious voice, combined with Keys's training as a classical pianist, sets her apart from the weekly crop of disposable divas. Keys plays for keeps.

    "Based on a True Story" Lil' Mo
    ...available here.
    Well known for her support work for the likes of Missy Elliott and Ja Rule, Lil' Mo finally stakes her claim as a solo artist. Her long-awaited debut, "Based on a True Story," demonstrates her vocal and topical range.

    "One Touch" Sugababes
    ...available here.
    After enduring too many spicy U.K. concoctions, it's easy to dismiss the Sugababes as yet another from-concentrate girl group. But the Sugababes are a girl group in the tradition of old-school sweethearts the Shangri-Las or the Ronettes. These young'uns have soul.

    "Return of Dragon [EXPLICIT LYRICS]" Sisqo
    ...available here.
    Armed with a new hairdo, would-be R&B seducer Sisqo is back with more of his freaky tales, plus some of the string samples that he's called "educational." The Dru Hill lead singer made his name with his ubiquitous ode to underwear, the "Thong Song," on his debut, "Unleash the Dragon." Sadly, on "Return of Dragon," there's no sign of a "Brief Song." Maybe next time.


    "Aaliyah" Aaliyah
    ...available here.
    In the limelight since she was 15, Aaliyah is one of R&B's consistently good bets. With her hotly anticipated third album (also her first full-length studio effort in five years), Aaliyah continues to provide catchy, poptastic R&B, with the help of superproducer Tim "Timbaland" Mosley.


    "Vol. 2-Live at the Apollo" James Brown
    ...available here.
    This remastered recording of James Brown's 1967 summer concert at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem is intoxicating. Its live electricity conveys Brown's ability to seduce with sweet ballads, and also to create sweltering soul stompers. Just imagine actually being there!

    "The Payback" James Brown
    ...available here.
    Stickier than hot caramel, the song "The Payback" remains one of James Brown's deepest grooves ever. Which is saying a lot. The propulsive rhythm of the title track funks with a vengeance, literally, and the rest of this album does too: it's a must-have for any musical collection.

    FREE DIGITAL MUSIC has an exclusive free download of a gorgeous song by new soul singer-songwriter India Arie. It's called "Butterfly" and it's available now. Download "Butterfly."
    ...available here.

    Go to all R&B/Soul downloads
    ...available here.


    "Bait & Switch" Andre Williams
    ...available here.
    On "Bait and Switch," Andre Williams continues to provide hipsters and old-timers alike with raunchy rhythm and blues. After a long career that has included stints with Motown Records, and recordings with Parliament, on his latest greasy soul workout he teams up with like-minded letches such as Rudy Ray Moore.

    "Here & Now" Ike Turner
    ...available here.
    After a storied (and tabloid-documented) career, Ike Turner's latest is a sometimes uncomfortable blend of today and tradition.

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    POSTED JULY 5 2001

    "City High" City High
    ...available here

    New Jersey trio City High's debut is the kind of uplifting hip-hop soul that you would expect, given that much of it is produced by Wyclef Jean. They use their soulful voices and organic arrangements to grapple with harsh realities, adding a spoonful of sugar to the moral medicine.

    "Moulin Rouge [SOUNDTRACK]" Ost
    ...available here
    While the stars of Baz Luhrmann's new film, Moulin Rouge, preen and prance in turn-of-the-century costumes, the movie's soundtrack is decidedly more modern. With Christina Aguilera, Pink, Mya, and Lil' Kim remaking Labelle's raunchy "Lady Marmelade," and Beck and Timbaland reworking David Bowie's "Diamond Dogs," it's definitely an interesting collection.

    "Forces Of Nature" Tank
    ...available here
    The latest entrant in R&B's ongoing abdominal muscle sweepstakes, the deep-voiced Tank has the musical chops to back up the physical evidence. An ex-backup singer for Aaliyah, Tank's debut is a blend of sexual healing workouts and romantic whispers. It also includes "Maybe I Deserve," a cheating man's admission of guilt.


    "Songs in a Minor [US-Import] [IMPORT]" Alicia Keys
    ...available here
    One of the most talented young singers on the R&B scene, 20-year-old Alicia Keys may be cute, like many other chart-toppers. But her commitment to music, and her training as a classical pianist, make her more than the average junior diva. Her lovely debut showcases her vocal force, as well as songwriting skills which transcend adolescent preoccupations.

    "First Born Second" Bilal
    ...available here
    Like Jill Scott, Musiq Soulchild, and the Roots, Bilal is a product of Philadelphia's vibrant musical scene. Since his first single, "Soul Sista" dropped, anticipation for this excellent debut has been building, and with it, Bilal proves that he has the voice and charisma to deliver on the hype.


    ...available here
    Washington funk legend Chuck Brown is joined by jazz vocalist Eva Cassidy in this lovely session of jazzy, soulful standards. It's a cross-genre feast for the ears.

    "Best of Sade" Sade
    ...available here
    Sade's elegant musical sensualism is timeless, and this excellent collection compiles her best work, including "The Sweetest Taboo," "Smooth Operator," and other evening classics.


    "Renaissance" Lionel Richie
    ...available here
    Lionel Ritchie, an ex-member of the Commodores and an '80s superstar in his own right, is back. And not much has changed: he's adding hip-hop and funk elements to the adult-contemporary template, and he's delivering the romantic ballads that have left ladies swooning for three decades.

    "Luther Vandross" Luther Vandross
    ...available here
    One of R&B's lushest voices, Luther Vandross returns with an eponymous album that shows him going back to his roots: silken love ballads. Though this collection also includes up-tempo numbers, it's really all about Vandross's soulful romancing.


    Legendary bassist Bootsy Collins, one of the originators of "the funk," is honored in Rhino's new "Glory B Da Funk's on Me!" anthology. And is currently featuring a download of his song "Body Slam," which is funky and then some. Collins's contribution to the funk is immeasurable, as he's worked with both George Clinton and James Brown (funk's two godfathers), and remains a musical superstar. Download " Body Slam" now.
    ...available here

    Go to all R&B/Soul downloads


    "Very Best of Rose Royce [US-Import] [IMPORT]" Rose Royce
    ...available here
    Los Angeles' Rose Royce became famous by producing the soundtrack to the film Car Wash. And though the single "Car Wash" was probably their biggest hit, the soundtrack's second single, the lovesick "I Want to Get Next To You," is music at its most magical.

    "Fattest of Fatback" Fatback Band
    ...available here
    Fatback was a dancefloor mainstay in the '70s and '80s, and listening to this greatest hits collection, it's easy to see why. The group's swaggering funk, anchored by thick, bottom-heavy grooves, made this New York group one of the best. Their singles also added a welcome touch of humor to the music scene.



reviews excerpted are copyright © 2001 & associate ncdn and CDnow, TowerRecords, Barnes & Nobel associates