(5 / 5)
This revered soul artist is still sadly missed, some seven or so years after her death at the age of 54-years old. A lovely two-disc set by the late, great Teena Marie, covering almost a decade – 1983-1991 – the 25 tracks include all of Teena’s charted hits for Epic Records.
Teena gained prominence at Motown working with funk king Rick James, scoring her first major R&B hit in 1979 with “I’m A Sucker For Your Love”, followed by the global chart-maker, “I Need Your Lovin” in 1980.
Produced by Donald Cleveland, who also re-mastered the collection, and David Nathan who frequently interviewed Teena and contributes a personal tribute to the notes.This welcome release showcases distinct elements of the California-born singer/songwriter, musician and producer’s distinctive artistry.
The first disc, “Fierce & Funky – “Work It”, a dozen cuts focused on up-tempo grooves and dance floor favourites such as “Lovergirl,” Teena’s 1984 pop break-through hit, heard here in a special 12” dance mix, and ‘Jammin’’, and includes a number of rare mixes such as “Surrealistic Pillow” and “Bad Boy”, a 1989 non-album single.
Disc Two, “Slow & Sexy – The Once And Future Dream” 13 cuts which includes some of Teena’s most loved ballads. As a slow jam queen, Teena’s mastery is exemplified by her 1988 No. 1 R&B hit, “Ooo La La La”; her soul legend ode, “My Dear Mr. Gaye”, the remarkable “Out On A Limb”; and also includes Teena’s 1991 single with Soul II Soul’s Jazzie B, “Since Day One” and an exceptional rarity, the duet “Soulmates”, by the group Q.T. Hush, who she produced in 1985. US author and journalist Rashod Ollison contributed the liner notes to this set.
By Sally Fox
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’