Witch of Love

by: France Joli

George Duke is an incredibly versatile musician; how many former Frank Zappa sidemen can honestly tell you that they have produced everyone from Flora Purim to A Taste of Honey? Given how flexible Duke is, the Californian was a logical person to hire as a producer when France Joli wanted her fifth album, Witch of Love, to be diverse. Although not quite as strong as Joli's previous Epic release, Attitude, this Duke-produced LP is a pleasing and fairly unpredictable effort that contains everything from up-tempo pop/rock ("Does He Dance," "What About Me," "Love's on Fire") to adult contemporary ballads ("Love Always Finds a Way") to urban contemporary ("Give Me Your Love"). Given Duke's R&B credentials, he could have easily made Witch of Love a fine R&B album if that was what Joli was going for. But even though ("Give Me Your Love" has urban appeal, the album on the whole isn't as R&B-minded as her Prelude output -- while Prelude saw her as a disco/R&B artist, she had more of a pop/rock outlook at Epic. What she didn't have at Epic was a lot of major hits; regrettably, this 1985 LP (which has long since gone out of print) was a commercial disappointment. Witch of Love isn't Joli's best or most essential album, but it's an enjoyable record that should have done better. ~ Alex Henderson

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