Brenda Holloway

It's a Woman's World

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Soul music suffered a major loss when, in 1968, a 22-year-old Brenda Holloway decided to retire from the music industry. It wasn't until 1999, when she turned 53, that the vocalist returned to recording secular R&B in the U.S. (although she provided a gospel album in 1980 and recorded some secular R&B in England in 1987). The Volt label, which Fantasy reactivated in 1999, is synonymous with classic soul; but for the most part, you won't find a classic soul approach on this CD. It's a Woman's World gets off to a 1960s-like start with a remake of the Everly Brothers' "Walk Right Back," although most of the material that follows is surprisingly urban contemporary. No, Holloway isn't trying to be Mary J. Blige, Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliot, or a member of Destiny's Child, but this isn't an album of Motown covers either -- and high-tech, hip-hop-influenced items like "No Regrets" and "Don't Keep Runnin' (In and Out My Life)" are a lot more urban contemporary than listeners might expect from Holloway. Some of the ballads, meanwhile, have a lot of adult contemporary appeal. Produced by Preston Glass and Fred Pittman, this decent, if unremarkable, CD demonstrated that Holloway's voice had held up well over the years and that she could still be charming and charismatic. Even though It's a Woman's World falls short of the excellence of her classic Motown output of the 1960s, it's nice to see her recording again.

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