First Impressions: Leela Gives Her Spin On The Classics

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Miss Leela James, we have missed you. The Los Angeles native, returns with Let's Do It Again, which in her case, is a expression that rings true as it's been awhile since we've heard her fiery soulful growl. If Leela's name sparks a memory, you might recall her debut album, 2005's A Change Is Gonna Come and it's hit lead-off single, "Music". The ode to "missing the good ole days" of music long gone, gained the singer some much needed attention.
Now after a short-term absence and a new record label, Leela is back, and this time she's bringing out the heavy artillery. On album number two, Leela digs deep into soul, funk and rock vinyl crates and unearths a searing collection of classics Unlike Seal's watered-down covers collection, Soul from last year, Leela keeps in mind that soul music should crackle and sizzle in the frying pan, not just sit there and be stagnant. Leela takes on the likes of James Brown, Phyllis Hyman, The Rolling Stones, Bobby Womack and even Foreigner, and she does them all justice. Leela is right on time with Betty Wright's "Clean Up Woman" and even though the man vs. woman banter on Womack & Womack's read of "Baby, I'm Scared Of You" is missed, Leela still makes the song fun. While it's a tough tackle, the Godfather of Soul's "It's A Man's, Man's, Man's World" gets a spin from Leela, who effortlessly slides into it. Frankly, I'm impressed that she chose to cover some lesser covered jams, such as Angela Bofill's "I Try", which has always been a favorite of mines and Leela's version is just a moving as Angie's 1979 classic. While we could give praises to all the classics that reside on this disc, the real standing ovation goes to Leela's vocal chops which are bold, gritty, crisp and exciting, not to mention that they breathe new life into the jams featured on here. Sure cover albums are risky business, considering that they don't always necessarily recapture the magic of the originals, but it takes a singer like Leela James that can take the song, tweak it and interpret it to fit her own personal style. Miss James, you have certainly "done it again".

Rating: 9.5/10
Release Date: March 24, 2009

7 comments:

  1. I can't get over the head of weave. That's not the Leela I came to love under that mop is it?

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  2. TS, lol, I tend to look past the weave and listen to the tunes...but yeah, I miss that free flowing 'fro she was sportin' when she first came out

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  3. why did she get a nose job? she was so pretty jen. Hey If you still havent gotten alisha's second album...i have it.

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  4. I have been boycotting this one, leaving it lonely and unattended, it my inbox because I'm really disappointed that the second album we get from her are covers. Why? And it's not like she hasn't had more than enough time to put together some new material. Very disappointing.

    However, I am hearing that the album is good and that she kills it live. So I'll give this a chance. Not rushing because I've heard it all before. But I won't send it to musical oblivion with Brandy and Jamie Foxx.

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  5. I just downloaded the album and it is really good. I am disappointed that she changed her look so much though. The nose job is terrible!

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  6. WHY THE NOSE JOB!??!

    She was beautiful as she was!!! And it WASN"T NEEDED! :(

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  7. She kinda looks like Oprah LOL

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