by: Natalie Cole

Natalie Cole's second album for Verve, released four years after Ask a Woman Who Knows, is also based around covers. This time out, she fixes her gaze on more modern material and is joined by producer Dallas Austin. Backed by a band anchored by Austin (who drums throughout), longtime Austin associate Tony Reyes (bass, guitar), and Marvin "Chanz" Parkman (keyboards), Cole breezes through an easygoing set of covers including the likely (Aretha Franklin's "Day Dreaming," Des'ree's "You Gotta Be"), the relatively unlikely (Neil Young's "Old Man," Kate Bush's "The Man with the Child in His Eyes"), and the practically required (the requisite Sting cover, thankfully not "Fragile"). Sounding like it was recorded at a leisurely pace, with all the involved enjoying themselves, the album should be a treat for any Cole fan, even though there is only one original song: the classy, Al Green-inspired "5 Minutes Away." ~ Andy Kellman

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