While best known as the former lead singer of Sounds of Blackness -- and part of their commercial peak with some Jimmy Jam-Terry Lewis produced hits in the early '90s -- the Joliet, IL native also got some love from American Idol a few seasons back as the grandmother of popular contestant Paris Bennett. While that exposure -- and judge Randy Jackson's declaration that she's one of "the best singers in the world" -- made her hip with the younger viewers, Nesby is an old-school gospel/soul genius all the way. The successful, Grammy nomination filled solo career she launched in the mid-'90s continued in the 2000s with some stellar releases on Shanachie, starting with her first pure gospel album (2006's In the Spirit) and continuing with this passionately urgent, highly romantic (and appropriately titled) date. Her distinctive Aretha Franklin like voice fronts some dreamy backing vocals on the upbeat, crunch-groove driven, brass enhanced "I Can't Explain It," and her thoughtful, reflective "I Apologize" is rendered like a searing prayer. With its references to modern day distractions, the dreamy "Special Occasion" is a call for people to focus on their lovers, not the stuff in their lives. Other highlights are the soothing, ironic ballad "Thank God" and the hypnotic, easy funk flavored "Tables Turn." Nesby wrote or co-wrote every song on this collection, which puts the listener through a richly emotional, joyfully cathartic experience from start to finish. It's not gospel per se, but it's deeply spiritual simply because it's Ann Nesby.
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran