Picks and Pans Review: Reachin' Back
In this ever-changing world of pop music, a few things are certain: First, we don't need another covers CD. Second, tribute albums have gotten way out of hand. And third, it's time to let redone-to-death oldies like the Stylistics' "You Make Me Feel Brand New" and the Delfonics' "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)" rest in peace.
Undeterred, Regina Belle defies such notions with another collection of covers). The R&B singer not only bows at the Philly soul altar of famed '70s songwriters Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff but also digs up both of those two crusty, aforementioned dinosaur singles. Predictably, Belle's gambit doesn't offer any musical surprises, but that doesn't matter. Her lovely voice is clearly the main attraction here. Belle simply struts her soulful stuff: A pause here, a rise there, a dip down low and a playful scat fade on the Main Ingredient's "Just Don't Want to Be Lonely." And if all that doesn't get you, the flaming thrill of hearing her smolder through Teddy Pendergrass's "Love T.K.O." just might tempt you to pull the fire alarm. (Columbia)