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Soul Express CD Review

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(US Atlantic / Rhino CD, 2005)
1) I Like It 2) All the Times 3) Storm Has Passed 4) It Hurts too Much to Say 5) Wind Beneath My Wings 6) Written All over Your Face 7) Last Time I Saw You 8) That's What Love Is 9) A Rose by Any Other Name 10) All I Want Is You 11) I Believe I Can Fly 12) My Side of the Bed 13) So Alone

This CD mainly consists of previously released duets between Gerald Levert and other singers, but also includes three new recordings. The first of these is the opening cut I Like It, which celebrates the return of the group Levert. The actual song is a synthetic R&B ballad but it has an insistent groove and a rather catchy chorus. Storm Has Passed introduces a new talent Sherena Wynn as Gerald’s duet partner. She has a strong gospel-trained voice and she has earlier sung background vocals for Gerald, The O’Jays and Patti LaBelle, but now she gets a chance to show off her determined vocalising with Gerald on this conventional soul ballad. The third new track features Vanessa Williams, who joins Gerald on a modern beat ballad titled  Last Time I Saw You.

  Of the older material, most have been released on the albums by other artists, and only the Kelly Price duet It Hurts too Much to Say has been picked from Gerald’s own solo albums (from the 1999 release “G”). Together with this powerful, highly emotional Kelly Price duet, the most worthwhile tracks are the Miki Howard duet That’s What Love Is (from Miki’s Love Confessions album in 1998), the extremely memorable Teena Marie composition / duet A Rose by Any Other Name and the oft-recorded tune Wind Beneath My Wings / Hero from Gerald’s duet album with his father Eddie Levert. Instead, the recordings together with Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill, under the title LSG (Levert-Sweat-Gill) were disappointing, and the inclusion of All the Times and My Side of the Bed from the first LSG album in 1997 only underscores the fact the these tracks are clearly below par on Gerald’s own standards. (Rating: 8/10) –IT

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