Picks and Pans Review: Good Woman
This record is being promoted as Knight's solo debut. That's a spurious distinction because the Pips, her backups for 39 years, were always little more than a snappy-dancing chorus line. Good Woman is also subhyped as "Gladys goes funky," which is plain fallacious since Knight's last album, Love Overboard, was hipper than this bland offering produced by Knight and Michael Powell.
While the two clearly intended to burn up dance floors, such new-jack tracks as "Meet Me in the Middle" and "Give Me a Chance," a duet with David Peaston, fall short of incendiary.
"This Is Love" might make a nice ballad for a jazzy chanteuse like Anita Baker. But there are too many wide open spaces in the song for a pop singer, even Knight. The production on the refrain falls flat, and the muted background-vocal chorus, instead of providing counterpoint, clashes with Gladys's delivery. As far as slower songs go, she fares better on "Where Would I Be" and "Mr. Love."
Knight always has that glorious red-satin voice. But there's little here to wrap it around. An exception is a trio involving Knight, Dionne Warwick and Patti LaBelle on Karyn White's "Superwoman." Gladys comes out throwing haymakers. Of course, you better load up when you invite two heavy hitters like that into the studio with you.
So this "solo debut" isn't a triumph. Maybe next time. Today the Pips, tomorrow the world. (MCA)