US Amor Records CD, 2010
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1) Each Day Is Better
2) Come Back Home
3) Don't Ask My Neighbors
4) Joy and Pain
5) Thank God for You
6) You Keep Trippin'
7) Take Me Away
8) It's So Wrong
9) Something I Wanna Say
10) Can You Stop the Rain
11) I Don't Wanna Wait
12) Dr. Feelgood
13) In This Life
Rena Scott is still best remembered for her 1978 hit duet with Michael Henderson,
entitled Take Me I'm Yours. Rena's solo albums have not been commercially succesfully,
but each one of them (this is her 5th solo album) has contained at least a couple of very soulful
ballad gems. Her latest album Take Me Away is no exception.
The album opens with the best new tune on the set; Each Day Is Better sounds like an
instant soul classic. It contains an instantly memorable chorus hook that demands a soulful
call-and-response dialogue with Rena, and the verses just ooze soul. The song is self-written
by Rena and proves that she is capable of writing new classics - not just sing new versions
of old soul classics.
Rena's vocal style is highly melismatic and she is at her soulful best singing slow ballads
that offer a chance for melismatic improvisations. An excellent pick for a cover song for her
is The Emotions classic Don't Ask My Neighbor, and although the background and
production are far from the luxury of the original version, Rena really shines with her
The album features also other cover tunes such as Joy and Pain (Frankie Beverly & Maze)
and Dr. Feelgood (Aretha Franklin, who is Rena's greatest influence). However, I preferred the sax-drenched
reading of the Peabo Bryson original Can You Stop the Rain. Ron Brown's
soprano saxophone also colours the backing of an excellent new soul ballad song
Something I Wanna Say, which is co-written by Rena together with her
producer Lloyd Tolbert. The title song Take Me Away is a slighlty softer
ballad with an ethereal feel. It's So Wrong returns to a rootsier and deeper soul atmosphere,
which I regard is just the right kind of material for Rena.
Warmly recommended to all of her old fans and anyone who still wants to listen to soulful music in 2011.
- Ismo Tenkanen