Picks and Pans Review: Blueberry Gossip

UPDATED 08/01/1988 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 08/01/1988 at 01:00 AM EDT

Ta Mara & the Seen

A Navy brat, singer Ta Mara (née Margaret Cox) was born in Morocco but raised in the Minneapolis area, where she lives. Maybe that relocation was fate. With her Nordic-stock look, she might have just flounced off a dairy farm. That fate also put her in proximity to pop music's Minnesota school. Her work, including this potent funk brew produced by A & M labelmate Jesse Johnson, has "Twin Cities-1980s" stamped all over it. What's wrong with this picture? Ta Mara's voice is a bit too thin and breathy, her delivery too stiff. The vocalist describes her style as a "balance of sexy and classy," but it's overloaded on the classy side, which in this case is unfortunate. Ta Mara does try to get down and funky by plumbing the depths of her register much more than she did on her first album. This descent, heard on songs like Betcha She Don't Want You, is intended to bring her into the realm of the earthy and concupiscent. In fact, she still sounds like a prom queen slumming it for a night. Such sizzlers as Excite My Life and a cover of Sly Stone's Everyday People make this a tolerable second album, but it could have been a lot better if the singer had integrated her talent and style. You keep waiting for this fusion. On Blueberry Gossip the music is right there (way to go, Jesse), but Ta Mara never comes. (A & M)

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