Tina Charles

Dance Little Lady

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If Tina Charles' debut album was the sound of an uncertain vocalist wed to an overambitious producer, then her sophomore effort, 1976's Dance Little Lady, evens up the match. Both the title track, which gave her a U.K. number six hit in August, and the smarmy-but-smart follow-up, "Dr. Love," brought Charles success on the singles chart, while both "Fallin' in Love With a Boy" and "When You Got Love" could easily have followed them. The highlights of the album, however, are two tracks that you might ordinarily have dreaded to encounter on a Biddu-fired disco album, the hauntingly traditional "Amazing Grace" and the old Billy Fury smash "Halfway to Paradise." In both cases, Charles finds a singing voice that far surpasses her familiar strained shriek, with "Paradise," in particular, a masterpiece of gentle cajoling that barely needs the strings to nudge it along. Elsewhere, Dance Little Lady hangs around precisely the same dancefloors that the bulk of Charles' career was built around, light and insubstantial disco flashed by the occasional catchy chorus. It was a competent brew, of course. But now you know she could do better.

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