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Soul Express CD of the Month - May-June 2011


Take Me Away

US Amor Records CD, 2010
Buy this album from our CD Shop
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 strong interpretation.

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
Soul Express

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