Picks and Pans Review: Winner in You

updated 06/16/1986 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/16/1986 01:00AM

Patti LaBelle

With this new release, Patti reasserts her claim on the Vocal Superwoman title: She can leap several octaves in a single effortless bound and use her voice to bend a simple line of notes melodically and emotionally. But she can overdo her musical acrobatics. This is especially noticeable when she works with repetitive, up-tempo tunes such as Something Special (Is Gonna Happen Tonight) and Twisted, on which she sounds as screechy as a skittish cat in a roomful of rocking chairs. Patti's high-powered pipes are showcased most effectively on this album's ballads. Ex-Doobie Brother Michael McDonald teams with her on the searing duet On My Own, written and produced by Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager. LaBelle and McDonald create a combination here that ought to be repeated. Kiss Away the Pain, by Ron "Have Mercy" Kersey and Alex Brown, has some gospel-tinged harmonies that'll inspire just about anyone to shout "Amen." But whether LaBelle's singing from the soul, tossing off a computerized dance-club ditty or emoting on a torch song, it's fun to follow the unpredictable twists and turns of her voice. (MCA)

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