Brandi Wells

Watch Out

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A finely crafted selection of easygoing mid-tempo funk numbers and soul ballads, Philadelphia vocalist Brandi Wells' debut album is one of the strongest in the WMOT catalog. The Top 40 R&B hit "Watch Out" is good, but there's a lot better in the moody swayer "I Hate to See You Go"; the bright, Motown-influenced track "Falling in Love"; and the album's second single, "What Goes Around Comes Around." Wells' gliding style combines influences of Deniece Williams' soprano tenderness with Phyllis Hyman's alto tenacity, but the phrasing and tone are distinctly her own. She conveys power without needing dramatic belting, with sensitivity barring excessive delicacy. Unfortunately, the masters were not preserved well, as CD reissues by both Unidisc and Hot Productions lack a certain crispness. Unidisc's is superior, though, for the inclusion of the extra track "Standing on the Outside Looking on the Inside" and 12" mixes of "Watch Out" and "What Goes Around Comes Around." Any fans of Philly soul and solid '80s soul, in general, will want to delve into this overlooked gem.

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