The artwork for Where It All Begins, Lalah Hathaway's second Stax album, features a striking collage of her father Donny’s album covers, with Lalah cleverly inserted in place of her father on most of them. In addition to family photos scattered throughout the booklet, Lalah maintains a looking-back theme with a naturally heart-rending version of her father’s “You Were Meant for Me,” the original of which was issued as a single a few months prior to his tragic passing. Lalah also reaches back 20 years for a hushed but powerful remake of her own “I’m Coming Back,” her fourth charting single, first released in 1991. Otherwise, Where It All Begins picks up where 2008’s Self Portrait left off, though the pop-R&B-type moves -- buzzing synthesizers, harder beats -- are a little more pronounced. “If You Want To,” a gleaming disco-funk track co-written by Rahsaan Patterson, is the best of that lot; the remainder of the album’s highlights are relatively subdued, led by the gliding, atmospheric title track -- a stunning throwback to lyrically inward, sonically otherworldly soul-jazz of the ‘70s. There’s also a pleasant surprise in the form of “Wrong Way,” an uplifting number driven by bright acoustic guitar and a big chorus. It could easily fit into the playlist of a mature-rock radio station.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman