Leata Galloway

The Naked Truth

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Exploring territory quite foreign to that on her early-'80s debut set, Leata Galloway proves herself an assured song stylist on The Naked Truth. The opening power pop-soul, mid-tempo number, "With Every Beat of My Heart" -- released as a single -- is a glorious cross between the raw grit of Tina Turner and the lushness of Nancy Wilson. Gliding with serene melody and lyrics true to life, "Heartache (Don't Discriminate)" is another peak moment. Occasionally, Nick Martinelli's production is a bit too glossy; for the most part, however, the sound here is thoroughly relaxing and durably arranged. This is one of the most impressive early efforts to blend contemporary R&B and jazz into the format that gradually blossomed into R&B-driven smooth jazz. Galloway's inspired, passionate performances throughout insure that the songs don't fall victim to the banality sometimes associated with that subgenre. The cohesive listening experience that results makes one wonder why this gem of an album didn't get nearly the commercial clout it deserved.

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