Teena Marie

Ooo La La La: The Epic Anthology

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Ooo La La La: The Epic Anthology Review

by Andy Kellman

Back in 2012, Soul Music expanded and reissued the first four of the five albums Teena Marie released on Epic: Robbery (1983), the pop breakthrough Starchild (1984), Emerald City (1986), and Naked to the World (1988). The label continued their support of Lady T's post-Gordy, pre-independent output with this two-disc overview covering the entirety of her Epic run, including tracks from the Ivory (1990) era. Over half of the selections are versions and mixes that originated on 12" releases (several of which are among the bonus cuts on the 2012 reissues), yet the package is still more satisfying than previous Epic-phase compilations such as Greatest Hits, Lovergirl: The Teena Marie Story, and Playlist: The Very Best of Teena Marie. Each charting single is represented, often in 12"/extended forms that tend to top the album versions and edits. While most of the LPs from this period are uneven, not one is poor. Teena had more to offer than the crossover smash "Lovergirl" and sublime hit ballads "Ooo La La La" and "If I Were a Bell," a point made with the inclusion of all the essential album cuts, like "My Dear Mr. Gaye" and "Cassanova Brown," where she really flexed. Remastered sound and Rashod Ollison's excellent liner notes add to the set's appeal.

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