"Way Back When"...Brenda Delivered This Stunning Debut!
Dan Pine | Pompano Beach, FL United States | 02/12/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is the debut CD from songwriter and singer, Brenda Russell. It was released in 1979 and is one of her finest, most beautiful, simplest musical compositions ever committed to disc that serves as an introduction to an artist whose work has blossomed ever so beautifully within her two decades in the music business.There are 4 songs on this album that are also represented on her greatest hit collection: the hit single and opener "So Good So Right" which peaked at #30 on the billbord pop charts, the wonderful interpretation of the Luther Vandross classic "If Only For One Night" the melodic, adult contemporary piece, "Way Back When," and the bonus track: her signature song, "Piano In The Dark" (which originally appeared on her 1988 "Get Here" album)and Brenda's only top 10 hit (#6) that smoothly closes this beautiful collection.The album also contains the upbeat track, "In The Thick Of It," (her vocal seems reminiscent of early Roberta Flack on this track), the sensitive, "A Little Bit Of Love," the inspirational "You're Free" and the stunning ballad, "God Bless You." She also covers the hit single by Cheryl Ladd (of the original "Charlie Angels"), the midtempo "Think It Over" (which was a top 40 hit for Ladd in 1978! (#34))The album sports a striking cover photo of her profile (braids and all!) while on the back cover, there is a unique, yet engaging picture of an overview of a pensive Brenda sitting on top of the piano! Inside the contents are merely the listing of songs all penned by Brenda herself and photo and package credits. Much to my chagrin, there are no linear notes involving any of the musicians that lend their talents to this wonderful effort as well as no lyrics!Despite this quip, this album serves as one of the most quiet and pleasing collections of music that I own. A treasure in any musical library, this CD is a wonderful reminder that music can be intelligent and simplistic and soulful and seductive and "so good, so right.""
Brenda Russell's Best
Dan Pine | 08/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"All Grammy's aside, Ms. Russell's self-titled album is her best. Although dated through production stylings', this work illustrates the original, melodic, fresh, somewhat naive, and haunting creative work that evolved into Russell's Grammy winners. My fav's: "In the Thick of It" and "Think It Over". The classic "If Only For One Night" goes without saying (I've always preferred Russell's interpretation over Vandross's). Thanks Universal for finally releasing the entire collection on CD. After listening to a cassette taped from the album for 14 years, I can finally hear the quality I've been missing...and send a copy to the one who introduced me to the music, my dad!"
eric gallo | 10/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been listening to Brenda Russell for years. Although mostly known for her ever popular "Piano in the Dark" she has amassed an array of very expressive hauntingly mornful scores that, in my opinion, have been greatly under appreciated. One of my personal all time favorites is "Way back when" evoking a spriutual innocence and naivety rarely seen in works of this genre. Definetly a rare artist from the old-school with abundant talent."
Michael Butts | Martinsburg, WV USA | 08/21/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Brenda Russell is one of the finest vocalists in soul/rhythm and blues we've ever had. This reissue of her first album is prime proof of that fact. Is there a more seductive or sorrowful song than "Piano in the Dark"? What a tune! What an album! Buy it---you'll love it!Michael Butts"