Picks and Pans Review: Kindred the Family Soul

updated 11/07/2005 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/07/2005 AT 01:00 AM EST



In This Life Together

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Aja Graydon and Fantin Dantzler, the husband-and-wife duo known as Kindred the Family Soul, take the title of their sophomore album from the 1998 memoir of longtime marrieds Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, With Ossie & Ruby: In This Life Together. And the spirit of that couple, which for 56 years stood for African-American togetherness until Davis's death last February, is carried on lovingly by this Philadelphia pair. The follow-up to their overlooked 2003 debut, Surrender to Love, finds Kindred exploring the emotional dynamics of family and long-term commitment with richly crafted R&B that harks back to the Sound of Philadelphia in the '70s. And when they do get to singing about sex, they address the realities of post-baby lovemaking on tracks like the Graydon solo “Woman First” and the playfully funky “Sneak a Freak.” They also stress the importance of individual growth on uplifting cuts like the gospel-infused “As of Yet” and the jazz-kissed “My Time,” all the while remembering the lifelong vow that they make on the sumptuous title song. Ossie and Ruby should be proud.


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