Maria Vidal never enjoyed the recognition she deserved, but one of her allies did. That ally was Desmond Child, the superstar producer/songwriter who is famous for his work with Bon Jovi, Cher, Alice Cooper, and others. Back when Rouge was still struggling in the late '70s, he had a little-known group called Desmond Child & Rouge -- and Vidal was among the members. Favoring a streetwise, soul-influenced style of rock, Child's group proved to be too ambitious for their own good and went nowhere commercially. Vidal went solo, and this self-titled 1987 release is her only solo album. Although Maria Vidal isn't as ambitious or challenging as Desmond Child & Rouge's best songs, it is a solid pop/rock effort that finds Jimmy Iovine serving as executive producer. One thing this LP does have in common with Desmond Child & Rouge is an appreciation of R&B. Maria Vidal is a pop/rock album first and foremost, and memorable tunes like "Do Me Right" (which Child wrote and produced), "Sleep Won't Come," and the charming "I Am a Girl in Spain" are obviously aimed at pop/rock audiences. But urban contemporary is a definite influence on the funky "The Real Feel," while "Soul Love" recalls the Northern soul-pop of the early '70s -- the sentimental gem even employs the Spinners' 1987 lineup as background vocalists, and it probably would have been a major hit if Diana Ross or Freda Payne had recorded it in 1971. But unfortunately, the word "hit" doesn't describe "Soul Love" or any of the other songs on this neglected album, which didn't do nearly as well as it should have. Nonetheless, Maria Vidal is recommended to fans of 1980s pop/rock if they're able to track down a copy.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson