CD Review: Natalie Cole - "Leavin"
(Soul/Funk/Pop)

Natalie Cole - LeavinI remember Natalie Cole all too well from back in the day. Perhaps my most lasting impression of her was her appearance at a 1974 Funk Festival at the Pittsburgh Civic Arena on a bill that also had Herbie Mann, Funkadelic, Ohio Players, George Benson and Weather Report. She followed Funkadelic and obviously she didn't belong there at all, the crowd was polite and respectful to her, because of her dad and the fact that she had just come out with her first single. But to be honest everyone in the audience (including yours truly) was happy when she got off the stage! Of course Natalie Cole went on from there to become a very successful pop artist with many hit records and eventually crossed over and became successful in jazz as well. Her life story is well known and well documented. So here we are in 2006 and what does someone like Natalie Cole do? I think that she made an excellent choice in selecting the songs for this new CD. It's very much in the vein of what our friend Bettye LaVette did. It's full of "covers", however these songs are not the obvious ones that you might select for Natalie Cole, but in the end they are perfect. Just like you wouldn't have placed Natalie Cole on the bill at a Funk Festival in 1974. The difference is that she takes these songs and makes them her own and with her voice she makes you a believer in the artistry of Natalie Cole. In today's world of illusionary talent, misplaced hype and music that has little to do with art, that is an accomplishment. One of the reasons why many people are nostalgic for the music of the past is because back then you could believe in an artist. Even if it was an artist that you didn't like, you knew that you could believe in them. I am far from being a Natalie Cole fan, however she's got a great voice and she picked the right songs for this album. I believe in Natalie Cole, she takes songs that were great before she touched them and elevated the songs themselves (much like Queen Latifah did a few years ago). This is a great album and I suspect that journey of Natalie Cole isn't over by a long shot.

--Bob Davis



CONCERT REVIEW: Natalie Cole @ World Cafe Live - Philadelphia

Natalie Cole - LeavinJust wanted to let you know that I went to see Natalie Cole at the World Cafe' on Monday. You must understand that I have been a Natalie fan since my college days (not to date either of us.:) Anyway, her show was incredible. She came out in blue jeans (rhinestones initialed on the back pockets, N.C., I must find those jeans) very cool and funky. Her band was surprisingly young, and I was a little skeptical about whether they could do the job with the older stuff, but they made a believer out of me before the night was over. That young guitar player was excellent.

Natalie performed, rock, jazz, funk, R&B... just knocked us out with the new stuff, and wore us out with the old stuff like my favorite that she wrote herself, "Annie Mae." The audience took awhile to warm up to this new Natalie Cole, but after they got with the program, they knew what a real talent they had the honor and pleasure to be in the company of. Then, at the end of the evening after, "This will be", she introduced Patty LaBelle who was in the audience enjoying the show, which was SOLD OUT!

Anyway, I bought the CD, and played it all the way home. There is an Isley Brothers tune, don't say goodnight.... wow! So I agree with everything you said in your review... and just wanted to add a little bit more. take care, Bob.... Keep up the good Work!

La'Verne Washington .






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