Picks and Pans Review: Love Is Overdue

updated 08/31/1987 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/31/1987 01:00AM

Judy Mowatt

For her work with the I-Threes (the female trio that harmonized with Bob Marley) and now as a solo act, Mowatt has earned the title First Lady of Reggae. Apparently that honorific is not enough for her. On her fifth album, her most ambitious courting of the pop market yet, she covers a lot of ground, including a credible, frisky cover of the standard Try A Little Tenderness. Mowatt's dalliance with the mainstream works best on Long Long Time and the title track. Both of these charming songs are written by E.L. Richards (Richard Ace) and produced by R & B veteran Dexter Wansel. Mowatt has a sweet, pretty voice, but when she sings in a straight pop style her phrasing seems stilted, as if she were carrying on a halting conversation in a second language. Curiously, the more rigid rhythms of reggae seem to free her cadences. In general the songs on this record that are most authentically reggae, such as Get Up Chant and Hold Dem Jah, are the most appealing. Maybe this sometimes digressive album will convince the Jamaican singer, as Oz did Dorothy, that what she is looking for has been right in her own backyard the whole time. (Shanachie)

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