Sue Ann

Blue Velvet

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This late-'80s serving of Minneapolis funk and R&B -- largely designed by the Time's lead guitarist Jesse Johnson --offers generous portions of a tasty entree, unnecessarily peppered by a few unenticing appetizers. The bulk lies in gems like the down 'n dirty "Fiction"; the melodic, midtempo "Pleasure" ; and the serene, rhythmic ballad "I'll Give You Love." A true vocal chameleon, Sue Ann plays the sassy, no-holds-barred street diva on "Fiction," while she's sultry and jazzy on the Robert Brookins-produced "Pleasure," and straightforward and sensitive on "I'll Give You Love." Not as impressive are the structurally limited songs "You're So Precious" and "A Good Man," both suffering from an emphasis on cuteness over substance. These ditties are easily skipped, however, and the sturdy vox, arrangements, and melodies of the set's remainder more than make up for them.

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