Claudja Barry's first album, Sweet Dynamite, was an incredibly tough act to follow -- so tough that her sophomore effort would have been disappointing if it were anything less than a gem. Because Claudja, the singer's second album, falls short of the excellence of Sweet Dynamite, it does, in fact, seem mildly disappointing. This isn't to say that Claudja (which was again produced by Jürgen S. Korduletsch) is a bad album -- it's generally decent, if uneven and less focused than its predecessor. Opting for diversity, Claudja isn't strictly a disco LP and lets us know that Barry has R&B and pop credentials as well as disco know-how. "Dancin' Fever" is a pedestrian disco number, but Barry has a real gem in the eerie, futuristic "Love Machine"; she's also in good form on cuts that range from the seductive "Sexy Talkin' Lover" to covers of the Motown classic "Take Me in Your Arms" and Johnny Otis' "Every Beat of My Heart" (which was a major hit for Gladys Knight & the Pips in the early 1960s). Again, Claudja isn't a bad album, but it isn't in a class with Sweet Dynamite and isn't among her more essential releases.
by Alex Henderson