Monday, March 21, 2016

Gloria Loring-Is There Anybody Out There? (1994)


Yes, Gloria—there is someone out there! A lot of us, in fact, who adore listening to you sing! This lady is sure full of surprises, first captivating me with her timeless duet with Carl Anderson—that would be "Friends And Lovers"—then captivating me a second time with her performance of the theme song to the 80's sitcom, "The Facts Of Life". Both milestone music moments had happened to me when I was just a kid. And now in my adulthood, listening to this rare 1994 album of hers for the first time in my life, she captivates me yet again! She first surprises me with a marvelous solo rendition of that same "Friends And Lovers" classic. Feels a bit different without the familiar soulful voice of Carl Anderson performing alongside her every step of the way, but it's still so charming and romantically epic with me still adoring every word of the song, that familiar line from the main chorus that goes 'we don't have to be one or the other' especially haunting me and always finding a way to plant a permanent foothold in my heart. Then she surprises me again with her remake of the Johnny Rives golden oldie, " Slow Dancin' ". Shame on me for not recognizing this one right off the bat from the title, but the moment I heard the words 'swaying to the music', then 'no one else in the whole wide world', I knew exactly what my ears were hearing, old Johnny's voice on his 1977 original echoing somewhere in my mental jukebox all throughout the "Facts Of Life" theme song singer's sweety jazzed-up modern-day remake. Besides that pair of glorious performances, my ears greeted the opening title track with satisfactory delight, then were elegantly introduced to the swingin' funky groove of "Steppin' Easy" (the way Gloria's force soars before the blaring saxophone solo about midway through when she sings about things in 'full swing' herself is a moment not to be missed!), the soft, touching piano of the intimate "A Grateful Heart" (those piano ballads with the dreamy orchestral backdrops do the trick for making me get all nice and cozy every time) and the classy, magical presentation that is the concluding piece, "Star Dust" (sure sounds like Gloria was ready to take on Broadway with that show-stopping, theatrical performance!). Then there were a couple songs that were simply pleasant in every way: "Sit At My Table" (well, if the number of minutes I have found myself sitting through repeated listens of this one are any indication) and "Higher Ground" (the background singers provide a soulful boost that contrasts with Gloria's lofty voice on this one so beautifully). Glory to Gloria—is there anybody out there who loves listening to this glorious singer as much as I do?

1. Is There Anybody Out There?
2. Slow Dancin'
3. Steppin' Easy
4. Sit At My Table
5. Higher Ground
6. This Feeling We Call Love
7. Just As I Liked It
8. A Grateful Heart
9. Friends And Lovers
10. Star Dust

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