Picks and Pans Review: All by Myself

updated 06/22/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/22/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Regina Belle

In the wake of Whitney Houston's extraordinary success, all the major record companies went on a scavenger hunt for talented black female singers of their own. Columbia has come up with a winner in 24-year-old Regina Belle from Englewood, N.J. On this debut album Belle displays a voice of tantalizing quality. Much like Anita Baker, she can sound both promisingly intimate and world-weary without sacrificing vibrancy. Her rich and dusky voice is most enticing on languid ballads like Please Be Mine. And she has a graceful way of wielding a torch on the stagier How Could You Do It to Me? But Belle can also turn her intensity up with the tempo. Songs like Show Me the Way and Gotta Give It Up brim with brassy passion. Listening to Belle shift gears in midtune is the aural equivalent of watching smoldering tinder burst suddenly into flames. Produced alternately by Nick Martinelli and Michael J. Powell, All By Myself has a musical background that is usually well executed and always unobtrusive. That, aptly enough, forces Belle to carry the album, and she does, with grand style. (Columbia)

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