Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Natalie Cole



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UK release date 26.02.2007

Now here’s an interesting fact - Natalie Cole has scored as many Stateside R&B chart toppers as her father, the legendary Nat “King” Cole. According to the record books, both have straddled the top of the Billboard urban charts six times in their careers.

Patently, Natalie Cole is an artist who established a career on her own merits and didn’t hitch a ride on the coattails of her father’s success. Now 57 - but miraculously looking like someone in their thirties - it’s almost 20 years since her last No.1, 1987’s “Miss You Like Crazy.” This new album might not catapult her to the top of the charts but it has been getting heavy rotation on BBC Radio 2 - it was recently Ken Bruce’s album of the week no less - and looks set to get the British public enthusiastically reacquainted with her music.
As its title implies, “Leavin’” is something of a musical departure for its creator. Here, Cole - together with producer Dallas Austin, who does a sterling job by the way - has elected to do a covers album, though it’s far removed from the jazz standards outings she has done in the more recent past. Backed by a real band, Cole puts her own soulful spin on an eclectic collection of material that ranges stylistically from pop and rock to country and R&B. Cole’s rendering of Neil Young’s folk-inflected “Old Man” is absolutely sensational, as is her infectious reading of Aretha’s “Day Dreaming.” She really does give Aretha’s original a run for its money. That might sound like blasphemy in soul music circles, but here Natalie Cole reminds us what an utterly brilliant vocalist she is. She covers tunes by Sting, Kate Bush, Fiona Apple and Shelby Lynne but transforms them into soulful testaments from her own experience. There’s a gorgeous version of the Isley Brothers’ “Don’t Say Goodnight (It’s Time For Love)” too.
The more I hear this album, the more I like it. Its brilliance glistens with each repeated listen.
Words Charles Waring

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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