Patti LaBelle

Classic Moments

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The second straight Patti LaBelle studio album to be titled like a compilation, Classic Moments -- following 2004's Timeless Journey -- is an all-covers affair with a few pleasant surprises. While it won't shock fans to hear LaBelle in great form, some of the material the singer takes on couldn't have been all that expected. Soul classics like "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)" (hindered by a rather plain arrangement) and "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" (sounding entirely modern, even with the disco zaps and galactic keyboard effects) are natural picks, but a few other songs make this more than an average covers album, which are often spat out like contractual obligations. Highlights include strong takes on Michael McDonald's "I Keep Forgetting," the Pretenders' "I'll Stand By You" (turned into a spare piano ballad) and the Jones Girls' "You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else." The set's not spotless, but it's more than a stopgap release and will please LaBelle's followers.

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