Randy Crawford

Naked and True

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    6
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Released when Randy Crawford was 43, Naked and True came 16 years after the singer enjoyed her greatest visibility with the Crusaders' 1979 hit "Street Life." At that point in her career, Crawford enjoyed little or no interest from urban contemporary radio. But then, Naked and True is hardly album that goes out of its way to appeal to urban contemporary tastes of the '90s. Much of the time, the CD sounds like it could have been recorded in the late '70s or early '80s instead of the mid-'90s. Dominated by cover songs, Naked and True finds the singer putting her recognizable stamp on R&B hits ranging from the Spinners' "I'll Be Around," Change's "The Glow of Love" and George Benson's "Give Me the Night" to Patrice Rushen's "Forget Me Nots" and Simply Red's "Holding Back the Years." Especially noteworthy is her cover of Prince's "Purple Rain," which she changes from a rock/soul ballad to a jazzier, more quiet storm-ish number. Naked and True often sounds dated, but dated in a good sense -- if you consider the late '70s and early '80s a great period for R&B, you'll find a lot to like about this enjoyable, if less than essential, CD.

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