The idea of dedicating a disc to classic romantic songs can be a risky venture for any artist. The results can either be as warm and homey as a freshly baked dessert, or as sticky and gooey as leftover Valentine's candy in June. Luckily, Tuck & Patti's A Gift of Love falls in the former category, as the duo serves up a few slices of sweet tunes that will satisfy without inducing a sugary coma. Originally intended as a project for the Asian market, A Gift of Love became such a success that it ended up being released in Europe and America as well. Listening to the opening track of "Up On the Roof," it is easy to understand the disc's popularity. The welcome additions of keyboard and cello introduce Tuck Andress' gentle guitar as Patti Cathcart's warm voice sings with a breezy sincerity that is hard to resist. From that point on, Tuck & Patti continue their Gift of Love by deftly performing classic pop songs like "Can't Help Falling In Love" and "Close to You" in their unique, light jazz way. Revisiting "Sukiyaki" without the Asian adornments that usually accompany the song proves refreshing, while the duo's odd choice of bringing a subdued refinement to Freddie Mercury's danceable pop tune "I Was Born to Love You" works in their favor. Although Tuck's melancholic solo take on Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are" interrupts the mood, Patti's inspired vocals more than compensate on Minnie Riperton's "Lovin' You." Famous for its high-pitched refrain, the song is treacherous territory for any vocalist, but Patti dispenses with the high notes and comes up with a melody that reinvents and revitalizes the classic. Since the duo's basic sound has changed little since their 1988 debut, Tears of Joy, anyone who is familiar with Tuck & Patti pretty much knows what to expect. However, Tuck & Patti have the knack of selecting (or writing) the proper songs, and their interpretations are almost always refreshing and interesting. With A Gift of Love, Tuck & Patti have avoided the saccharine aftertaste found in other similarly themed collections by using fresh ingredients to bake a warm and tasty treat that will cap off any romantic meal.
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AllMusic Review by Aaron Latham