"Patti Labelle's 1997 album FLAME is a great album that showcases Patti's excellent vocals. From the opening "Someone Like You" to the closing "Don't Block The Blessings", this is classic Patti Labelle. "Someone Like You" starts off acapella then turns into a funky uptempo. My favorite song is the David Foster ballad "You Are My Solid Ground", which really shows off Patti's voice which is clearly a force to be reckoned with! Same goes for the moving ballad "You Saved My Life". I didn't care too much for "Does He Love You", which was originally done by Linda Davis and Reba McEntire, it doesn't work too well as a non-duet. Other highlights include "I Like The Way it Feels", "Addicted To You", "If By Chance", and the closing "Don't Block The Blessings". Overall a wonderful Patti Labelle album."
C. Avery | Houston, TX | 04/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Patti has a superb gift that is definitely showcased on this cd. From the first song to the last, she takes you on a musical journey that is not to be forgotten. The songs "When You Talk About Love" & "Don't Block The Blessings" are wonderful and "If By Chance" is absoutely breathtaking; the ending to this song is just marvelous. A must have."
Patti's Flame is Ever Burning
M. J. Moore | Chicago, Illinois United States | 06/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Patti LaBelle has certainly stood the test of time remaining a well-known, formidable and sought after entertainer for over 40 years. With hits such as On My Own, When you've Been Blessed, The Right Kinda Lover, If you Asked Me To, A New Attitude, If Only you Knew and more, Patti has shown that can keep up with the big boys. This Gold-certified release, FLAME, gives us a laid-back and comfortable Patti. Of all her studio efforts released to date, this is the one that sounds closest to being recorded live at a concert giving us various lingo that Patti is known for at her concerts. The disc starts off with the mid-tempo, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis jam, SOMEONE LIKE YOU. The intro to this song is worth buying the CD alone. Patti begins real slow and low and then after a few seconds she crescendos leading into the danceable, midtempo beat of the song. This song could have definitely been released as a single taken that it does sound better than WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT LOVE. Toward the end, Patti begins to let loose and be herself with adlibs like, "Said I've been waiting. I've been waiting." The next is a Gerald Levert produced slow, Quiet Storm cut- I LIKE THE WAY IT FEELS. At the beginning, Patti begins in a subdued soprtano register and continues this throughout. No Patti really letting loose here. She keeps it down and blends in with the song. Next is the David Foster, Middle of the Road ballad that kind of has a gospel tone to it- YOU ARE MY SOLID GROUND. As always, Patti starts off slow basking in the instrumentation and background of the song but towards the end she lets loose and gives one of the best crescendos on the disc. I was blown away by this part. Basically, one can hear the genuiness and the heartfelt emotion of this song.The following title track song is a Brenda Russell written and Arif Mardin produced R&B soulful cut. TO be honest, the song ALMOST does not work because it is too slow and there initially is no real uniquity to the song except maybe the words. However, Patti's voice and the background vocals help to make one see an image of fire. Towards the end Patti lets loose but not like she usually does and the song is one of the weaker tracks on the disk.After 3 slower songs, we get the mid-tempo, hitworthy jam produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis- LET ME BE YOUR LADY. This could easily be a song that Mariah Carey or some of the other younger singers would sing but Patti shows she can do it just as good but better. She actually shows how she has stood the test of time on this jam.Next is the song that Reba McEntire made a country hit a few years earlier with duet partner and friend, Linda Davis. But Patti turns DOES HE LOVE YOU into a soulful joint. She sings about being the wife of a man who is cheating on her with some girl who Patti is addressing in song. She tells the girl that she is "the one he rushes home to. Girl, I',m the one he gave his name to. You'll never see his face in the early morning light. I have his mornings, his babies and I'm the only one who has his nights." These are some powerful words especially for women or even men who are or have experienced adultery in a marriage. Here, Patti almsot matches the uncontested one form SOLID GROUND.SHOE WAS ON THE OTHER FOOT- This R&B, also Gerald Levert produced cut is definitely a concert soundign song with Patti doing an ad-lib at the end that is highly reminiscent of ones she does live. This song was a semi-hit on urban radio in the fall of 1997. This is kind of old school Patti more so than other songs.ADDICTED TO yOU- this slow, Quiet Strom song is another reminder of why Patti is so great. Herem she shows when there are times to be subdued as she remains low throughout most of the song. The climax comes at the end when Patti just lets us have it with some very nasal but high notes.WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT LOVE- This is Patti's most recent big hit. This is actually the song that got me jooked on Patti in the summer of 97 as a young teen. Patti here is kind of egotistical with parts like "Say my name." "Patti, Patti."LOVE IS JUST A WHISPER AWAY- Patti uses more of her soprano register and relents on the hollering just letting us attempt to full y receive the meaning and depth of this Gospel-tinged song.IF BY CHANCE- Although Patti holds back on the previous cut, that she does not do here. This AC ballad is a trademark Patti song. In the tradion of the "if" motif of which she has many other songs- IF ONLY yOU KNEW, IF yOU ASKED ME TO, IF THE SHOE WAS ON THE OTHER FOOT, IF I WAS A RIVER. Just like those other songs which have some dynamic vocals, this song also contains such vocals. The adlibs at the end can easily help one to visualize Patti rolling on the floor as she just pours authentic emotion into the song.LET ME BE THERE FOR YOU- This is an easy song that has just a piano. It sounds kind of like a spoken poem or love letter in some ways and is simply a plea to let someone be there for you. For those long Patti notes fan, she does hold a considerable note at the end in a very high tone.YOU SAVED MY LIFE- This song is the closest to any others in the Gospel territory. The lyrics are very meaningful and deep. This could easily be a song sung to God. This is truly a heartfelt and terrific song.DON'T BLOCK THE BLESSINGS- This is the title of Patti's 1996 autobiography which was a bestseller. This is probably the 2nd best song that showcases Patti's vocals next to SOLID GROUND. For all the vocal acrobatics fans, here they are. The trademark long notes, crescendos and dynamite adlibs toward the end are here. Patti takes one to church with this one. It is here at this adlib where one can imagine Patti kicking off her shoes in concert, throwing something around on stage, arms flailing, face frowned up and knees bucked- just letting her full spirit loose.This is a great finale to an even greater CD which is very cohesive and listenable. This is her best CD up until 1997 but a little better is WHEN A WOMAN LOVES of 2000. However, this CD is a great display of Patti's talents."
BEST OF THE BEST
M. J. Moore | 09/27/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can only say that Patti has done it.Her voice and passion for her music and fans have truly shone in her latest album. Patti I truly thank you for keeping it real.You must have this album it will make any music collection complete.Patti thank you."
Flame was another great Patti album!
Preston | nc | 09/06/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I like Flame from 1997. I played it a lot, just like other Patti albums. One of the surprises was When You Talk About Love, where she samples Al Green's Love and Happiness for the song's chorus. Probably the most clever move--a veteran soul singer sampling another soul singer's song, proving that she can ride on hip-hop's more familiar approach. Her group LaBelle and Al Green were both popular around 1974, so this is respect to that era. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis gave some very good songs for Patti for this album. They have been a major part of some of Patti's late-90's hits even when they did Janet Jackson's music. I love the Gerald Levert contribution Shoe Was on The Other Foot. Gerald will remember that moment of producing that song for Patti for a long time. The album tends to drag on two boring ballads that don't really fit here, and that happens on the second half of it. There's one number that sounds Puff Daddy like in terms of the beats--everybody tried to copy his sound that year when his No Way Out album was so popular. But Flame continues the momentum that Patti made in the 90s. One of her finest efforts."