Curtis Ohlson

Better Than Ever

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Curtis Ohlson's second album was originally released in 1989, and considerably broadens the palette spread out by its predecessor, So Fast. With saxophonist Marc Russo and vocalist Rosie Gaines (breathtakingly lovely on "A Thousand Years"), both returning from that earlier disc, Better Than Ever possibly peaks with an audacious rearrangement of George Michael's "One More Try" -- audacious because it sits so sweetly alongside Ohlson's own compositions that it could be an original by default. Nine songs long the first time around, the remastered edition that emerged in 2009 added two new songs to the running order: "Every Day's Friday," which has been programmed in near the beginning of the album and sounds like it ought to have been there all along, and "Enough Is Enough," which closes it with dramatic aplomb. More varied than So Fast and maybe more relaxed, Better Than Ever is another of those albums that quite inexplicably "got away" at the end of the '80s. Now it's back and you'd better not miss it this time.

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