Patti Austin

Sound Advice

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Sound Advice, primarily a covers set, was recorded with Greg Phillinganes and with Shelly Berg and Gregg Field. It’s a mixed bag, beginning with a fiery, gospel-ized version of Des’ree’s “You Gotta Be” and a powerful, original Austin ballad, “By the Grace of God.” The Rolling Stones' “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” removes the original’s frills, including the intro; Austin goes straight into the first verse, backed only by drums, and it plays out like a blues-rocker. Pleasant surprises come with Brenda Russell's “A Little Bit of Love” and the Jacksons' “Give It Up” -- album highlights that are played straight, make complete sense in Austin’s hands, and add a light touch to the selections. Most peculiar is a hushed version of Depeche Mode's “Enjoy the Silence,” which uses circular panning on Austin’s voice to somewhat ominous effect.

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