Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Jazz, Pop, R&B, Broadway & Vocalists
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 he... more »
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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
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Member CD Reviews
Jeanne C. (Jeanne-Marie) from TAMPA, FL
Reviewed on 10/28/2006...
A great CD. I received a gift copy in addition to the one I had. The songs are fantastic and Gladys never sounded better!
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Good Intentions Go Horribly Awry
El Lagarto | Sandown, NH | 10/12/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I saw Gladys Knight & The Pips perform once and I remember thinking at the time that, as much as any singer I'd ever heard, (not just female singers but all singers), this was a performer who sang from the balls of her feet. When she walked off the stage, she didn't take anything back to the dressing room with her, everything she had to give - she gave the audience. That's what makes an R&B and blues belter like Aretha or even Chaka Khan, (Chaka Khan, when she's at the top of her game), but it's not what makes a jazz singer.
I wouldn't include Gladys Knight with the legion of hacks, (read Rod Stewart among others), who insist on churning out retreads from the American songbook like so many pounds of unsalted butter, at least her intentions were pure. In fact, that's what's saddest about this absolutely awful CD. Knight knew many of these women, she honors the enormous debt she owes them, and she genuinely wanted to pay a fitting tribute. What she did instead was prove that nailing notes to the wall is a whole lot different than teasing them out of your soul one tear at a time.
Billie Holiday was a dreadfully coarse woman, but you'd never know it from her astoundingly subtle and delicate styling. Dinah Washington had real power, but it was always controlled, making for tension, restraint, and nuance in every note. The irony here is that Ms. Knight, in attempting to throw laurels at the feet of those who preceded her, has only succeeded in demonstrating that what they could do, and what she can't, is much harder than even she imagined."
Diana B. Revell | Brentwood, TN United States | 11/10/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"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."