Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Natalie Cole - I Love You So

Today (March 19th) marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of I Love You So, the fifth studio album from Natalie Cole. This 1979 release went to number 62 in Canada, number 52 on the US Billboard Album chart (with a fifteen week total run on the chart) and number 11 on the US Billboard R&B chart.

Side one begins with the title track. "I Love You So" is an up-tempo disco track with a bouncy beat and swelling strings.

The up-beat "You're So Good" was the B-side to the second single.

"It's Been You" delivers a modest helping of gospel, complete with a backing choir. It gives Cole's voice the room to soar up to the heavens.

"Your Lonely Heart", the third single, went to number 59 on the US Billboard R&B chart. The piano and steel-pedal guitar on this one give it a country-twinge ala Linda Ronstadt.

The B-side to the third single was "The Winner", a mid-tempo encouragement set to a jazz rhythm. Cole even scats a bit near the end.

Side two opens with "Oh, Daddy", a cover of a track from the 1977 Fleetwood Mac Rumours album. I like Cole's interpretation of the song as a dark and brooding R&B groove.

Things slow down a bit with the next piano-based ballad. "Sorry" was released as the second single; it reached number 109 on the US Billboard Pop chart and number 34 on the US Billboard R&B chart.

"Stand By", the first single, went to number 108 on the US Billboard Pop chart and number 9 on the US Billboard R&B chart. This song about getting through with help features a strong piano with supportive horns and strings. I like the little vocal runs that Cole does on this one, simple but effective.

The closing track "Who Will Carry On" was also the B-side to the first single. The song seeks out inspiration in troubling times, starting out slow and soft but then building in intensity.

Though re-released on CD in the 90's, this album has been out of print for awhile now. In order to review I Love You So, I had to go to a couple sources. First, I hit up the Natalie Cole Anthology over on Spotify to listen to four of them (the singles and the title track). Next stop was YouTube to fill in the rest of the gaps.

I found this record to be an interesting mix of sounds and styles. Natalie Cole however shows her abilities as a singer, adapting easily from genre to genre. I did not find a bad tune in the bunch; they all worked for me.

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