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Review: Leela James - 'Let's Do it Again'

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Review: Leela James - 'Let's Do it Again' © Shanachie Records.

The Bottom Line

Lets Do It Again, released in the U.S. on March 24, 2009, is the long-awaited second album by Soul singer Leela James. But if you're expecting new material, you might be surprised to find that this album's all remakes of songs mostly recorded in the 1970s and '80s. And although it's nice to hear anything from Leela after a four-year hiatus between albums, there's no reason why she should turn herself into a Las Vegas-style nostalgia act. That said, Leela does a very solid job redoing these songs, which were originally by a variety of artists, including Bootsy Collins, the Rolling Stones and Bobby Womack.
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Pros

  • Outstanding vocals.

Cons

  • Bland production.
  • Varying song quality.

Description

  • Cover songs.
  • Vintage R&B and pop.
  • '70s and '80s remakes.

Guide Review - Review: Leela James - 'Let's Do it Again'

Not many contemporary singers of any genre have the vocal skills to match those of Mary J. Blige, but Leela James is definitely one of them. But while Mary has become a household name over the course of her career, Leela's career has been somewhat less stellar. One of the reasons why is that Mary's career has been carefully guided by her label and managers, while Leela's has had it's ups and downs. She's delivered only one album of new material since 2005, and her second album, Lets Do It Again, is an album of cover songs. The album is solid, but instead of quenching her fans' thirst for music by her, the album's basically just a way to keep fans' interest and her name out there. But for her true-blue diehard fans, the album's ultimately bound to be less than fully satisfying.

But that's not due to Leela's vocals, however; she turns in some excellent performances here. Particularly great are her emotionally wrought version of James Brown's "It's A Man's Man's Man's World" and her highly soulful rendition of "Clean Up Woman," an 'other woman' ode originally recorded by Betty Wright. But the main problem with the album is that with only one real album to her credit until now, it's way too soon for her to go back and start mining the classics for material, especially since Leela herself is still only in her 20s and supposedly has a long career ahead of her (hopefully not as a Las Vegas lounge singer, which is what these cover songs sound like who they were meant for). The album's other problem is song selection. Some make perfect sense, like the James Brown and Womack tunes, but some of the remakes, like the Rolling Stones' "Miss You," Foreigner's rock ballad "I Want to Know What Love Is" and Phyllis Hyman's "You Know How to Love Me," are lackluster. They might appeal to anyone over 45, but a more youthful audience might not feel them as much.

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