Picks and Pans Review: Love & Consequences

updated 08/03/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/03/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Gerald Levert (Eastwest)

Gruff, raw and sweaty, Levert's brand of gospel-infused R&B harkens back to 1960s and '70s soul music. Indeed, Levert has the pedigree and vocal power to sing with both tenderness and toughness, hallmarks of the great soul singers of the past. He is, after all, the son of the O'Jays' Eddie Levert, and Love & Consequences alludes to his father, most plainly on "Point the Finger," which fades out with a few lines from the O'Jays' 1972 hit "Back Stabbers." But it's not just Pop who gets a nod. Levert turns Bobby Womack's "That's the Way I Feel About Cha" into a silky duet with Mary J. Blige, and throughout the CD listeners are treated to stunning blasts of old soul energy from this very modern singer.

Bottom Line: Rhythm and blues the way it was

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