Natalie Cole

Good to Be Back

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When Natalie Cole released 1989's Good to Be Back, the follow-up to 1987's Everlasting, her fans had become accustomed to her year-long recording gaps for six years, going back to 1983's I'm Ready. So it's not as if her absence was that much of a surprise, but given the ups and downs of her personal life, the album's title could be alluding to something entirely different. (1989 was the year she married drummer, producer and Rufus founder Andre Fischer). At any rate, Good to Be Back continued her popularity in the mainstream and on the adult contemporary chart. The success of four singles -- "As a Matter of Fact," and especially the ballads "Miss You Like Crazy," "Starting Over Again," and "I Do" (a duet with Freddie Jackson) -- belied the album's inability to crack the Top 50 of the album chart. The ballads were (and have continued to be) staples on adult contemporary stations. On the other hand, the disposability of "Safe" and "Somebody's Rocking My Dreamboat" made it all the more evident that Cole was outgrowing the lighter and more upbeat material. A deep album cut, "The Rest of the Night" (co-written by Glen Ballard) is a major reason to not settle for an anthology.

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