Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Patti Austin - Patti Austin

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of the self-titled, fifth studio album from American R&B singer Patti Austin. This one spent eighteen weeks on the US Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 87.

Side one opens with “It’s Gonna Be Special”. Released also on the Two of a Kind soundtrack, this first single went to number 82 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 15 on the US Billboard R&B chart, and number 5 on the US Billboard Dance chart. As I said in that album’s review last December (click here for that), I like the island rhythms on this track. It is the first of three compositions by the team of Clif Magness and Glen Ballard.

“Rhythm of the Street”, a mid-tempo dance tune about growing up restless in an urban environment, went to number 11 on the US Billboard Dance chart. I like the percussion on this one, done by one of the album’s producers Narada (Michael Walden). It gives the song a great energy level

Things slow with “All Behind Us Now”, a ballad about moving forward after a break-up. It was written and produced by David Pack, the lead singer of Ambrosia.

“Hot! In the Flames of Love” brings back the groove with a smoldering and sultry plea for passion.

“Change Your Attitude”, the B-side to the third single, is the second track by Magness and Ballard. Here, Austin delivers a stern wake up call backed by a strong dance beat.

Side two starts with the mid-tempo “Shoot the Moon”, also written by Magness and Ballard. This third single went to number 49 on the US Billboard R&B chart and number 16 on the US Billboard Dance chart. The song is all about taking a chance on love.

“I’ve Got My Heart Set on You” bounces along next.

I like the bass on the next track “Fine Fine Fella (Got to Have You)”.

“Starstruck” fits perfectly into the mid-80’s dance scene. This one is right in line with the tunes I would party to each weekend when I went out to the clubs.

On the album‘s closer “Any Way You Can”, Michael McDonald played keyboards. He also co-wrote the beautiful ballad with Pack.

I enjoyed my first exposure to the Patti Austin album in doing this review. It is a solid collection of ten R&B tracks; I think having a variety of writers and producers across them did not have a negative effect on the album at all. Austin’s strong vocals provide the ribbon that ties it all together. If I had heard this one back in 1984, I know I would have enjoyed it as much as I did now.

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