Album Review: Irene Cara presents Hot Caramel

Album Review: Irene Cara presents Hot Caramel Irene Cara presents Hot Caramel
(Rock, Neo Soul, Jazz, Funk, Fusion, Slow Jams, Southern Soul, Pop, Disco, Latin, Spoken Word/Rap)


Irene Cara - vocals, acoustic piano, synths
Audrey Martells - vocals
Chanda Leigh Bailey - keyboards, synths/FX, vocals
Errica Poindexter - bass
Reina Yvonne Poindexter - vocals
Donna Hairston - bass
Lafrae Olivia SCI - drums
Sheryl Bailey - guitar

(please note ..."an all girl band")

Here is what I will write on Twitter about this album, if I ever log on to my account there again: "Irene Cara presents Hot Caramel is the best album that I have heard released in 2011"

(I think that is fewer than 140 characters?)

Irene Cara; huh?

A few months ago I was contacted by a publicist, asking me if I would like to have a copy of the new release by Irene Cara, for potential airplay on RadioIO.com. Of course I am well aware of who Irene Cara is.

I knew her from the 1980 musical "Fame." Then came the 1983 acclaimed musical film "Flashdance" which became her biggest hit and which garnered her an Academy Award for best original song. This was a pivotal moment in Oscar history being that Miss Cara was the first African American female to win the coveted award since Hattie McDaniel ("Gone With The Wind - 1939"), the first Hispanic female since Rita Moreno ("West Side Story" - 1961) and the first bi-racial female ever to win in any category pre-dating Halle Berry by nearly twenty years. I knew that she has won Grammies both as a vocalist and a songwriter. She won a Golden Globe award as well as a nomination for best supporting actress, a Peoples Choice award, an Obie award as a child for her work in theatre, an Image award as well as countless other industry honors for outstanding actress, singer and composer.

Irene Cara; huh?

Nevertheless, I must confess that I have never really been a fan of hers. I always just simply thought of her as an artist who was really big in the 1980's pop mainstream, that despite her success, I never really thought of as an artist that had any personal impact on me.

So I told the publicist to send me the album, figuring that I would find a halfway decent track on there that would be standard/generic "Urban AC" that I could throw into the playlist. The publicist quickly sent me what turned out to be a double album, then just as quickly the album went straight to the bottom of my pile of albums to get to. This happens quite often, considering the huge number of albums that are submitted to me :) In the meanwhile the publicist (who I would be happy to recommend to any artist who is looking for a good one, cuz this one is worth every dime that you would pay her) diligently stayed on the case, emailing me, calling me, doing everything that she could to get some feedback from me.

Irene Cara; huh?

FINALLY yesterday, I found the CD, and decided to take it with me to listen to during a long car trip, that I had to make. I figured that I would use the old "Frankie Crocker Method" (listen to each song for 30 seconds....LOL) and find one "Urban AC" track from there that I could program. (Boy was I ever wrong)

During that car trip I listened to the ENTIRE ALBUM TWICE. (That's how much I liked it) It is a "sonic, musical & lyrical masterpiece."

Irene Cara; huh?

Let me give you a summary of the type of musical diversity that is on the album; "Irene Cara presents Hot Caramel," just to give yall something to compare it to...

--HARDCORE FEMALE FUNK (A' LA BETTY DAVIS)
--JAZZ/FUSION (A' LA RETURN TO FOREVER)
--NEO SOUL (A'LA ALICIA KEYES)
--SPOKEN WORD (A' LA GIL SCOTT-HERON)
--ROCK (A' LA THE EAGLES)
--LATIN (A' LA RAY BARETTO)
--RAP (A' LA SALT N PEPA)
--DISCO/POP (A' LA KC & THE SUNSHINE BAND)
--SLOW JAMS (A' LA TEENA MARIE)
--SOUTHERN SOUL (A' LA MAVIS STAPLES)

(THERE IS NO "URBAN AC" ON THIS ALBUM)

Irene Cara; huh?

This is a fantastic album, covering most every musical style that I dig and doing it VERY well. It run totally & completely against the grain of what seem to be popular on today's commercial music scene, and I am lovin every single moment of this double album set. I'm quite happy that she had the GUTS to even do an album of such high quality, like this in today's world of mass mediocre music. In some ways it's reminiscent of Teena Marie's great album "Congo Square" from a few years ago. It's deep, it's entertaining and it feels like the artist threw themselves completely into it and enjoyed themselves in the process.

There are at least 9 songs from this album that I will be programming on various RadioIO.com channels and I will add them on my next update. But more importantly, anybody who gets into my car over the next few months will be forced to listen to this album. And when they do, they first words out of their mouth will be....

Irene Cara; huh?.....HELL YEAH!!!!

--Bob Davis
609-351-0154
earthjuice@prodigy.net

Co-Founder www.soul-patrol.com
Blues, Hip Hop and Soul Music Director www.radioio.com








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