Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Rosie Gaines-You Gave Me Freedom (2004)


ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: November 16, 2016

Let freedom ring! From one legendary soul queen to a soul queen whose voice is simply legend, my 'R' streak continues tonight with the arrival of my newly-discovered Rosie Gaines to "The Music Spectrum". Well, perhaps the term 'newly' wouldn't be 100% accurate, as just two short days ago, I received the shocking revelation, after all these years, that Ms. Gaines was the soulful female voice whom I've probably heard performing alongside the late eclectic music legend, Prince, on the 1993 hit, "Nothing Compares 2 U". And I say 'probably', as my childhood memory of that song is quite vague, if even existent at all. Besides that, I had no memory of anything else music-wise by Rosie, a third revelation that came following the second revelation that I didn't even realize she was already musically active all the way back in the 80's! So checking out this 2004 album of hers has finally given me the freedom to get acquainted with her, and I must confess that since formally getting introduced to her on the alluring opening track, "I Can't Get You Off My Mind" (and I've listened to it at least three times already, basking in the smooth jazz downtempo grooviness each and every time), I haven't been able to get her off my mind! But it wouldn't be the only song to stay embedded in my mental jukebox; the follow up, "Wanna Be", became the immediate second one to do so, the stylistic way she repetitiously delivers the title lyrics in the chorus sparking my attraction to the music here. Though the one that blows my mind—and also represents the absolute #1 highlight for me through the first half of my freedom ride—has to be Track #4's "I'm A Woman". Love the way that Rosie boldly boasts her femininity while proudly proclaiming her womanly independence—a call to freedom onto itself. A couple of terrific slow jams deserve to be a part of my highlight reel: "In Spirit" (it's her powerful and soaring vocals—those that brought to mind fellow soul queen Chaka Khan—that dazzle me here, Rosie confessing that no man can make her feel the way she does) and "Honeychild", which is a marvelous tribute to her special sweet thing (and that jazzy sway of the music backing her up is simply marvelous itself!). Further along that highlight reel, there's the fabulously-performed "My Man"; all the proof in the world you need to show that this lady could throw down the jazz numbers with the best of them (that 'shooby-doop' and all of that other ad lib she does is totally off the chain!)&mash;it's all right here on this song! Then ending this freedom ride on an appropriately uplifting note is "You Are My Friend". This already warming tribute of a love song, which rides on the back of a sunny reggae rhythm beneath the slowed groove, only gets better and better by the time the pitch taken up in the closing movements; that's where 'The Rosie Gaines Show' evolves into quite the show-stopping performance:

1. I Can't Get You Off My Mind
2. Wanna Be
3. New Beginning
4. I'm A Woman
5. Give It To Me
6. Run To My Heart
7. In Spirit
8. It's Been A Long Time (You're On My Mind)
9. What The World Needs Now
10. Honeychild
11. My Man
12. Get Into The Groove
13. So In Love With You
14. You Are My Friend

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