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Sound Advice

Patti Austin

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Album Review

Sound Advice, primarily a covers set, was recorded with Greg Phillinganes and with Shelly Berg and Gregg Field. It’s a mixed bag, beginning with a fiery, gospel-ized version of Des’ree’s “You Gotta Be” and a powerful, original Austin ballad, “By the Grace of God.” The Rolling Stones' “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” removes the original’s frills, including the intro; Austin goes straight into the first verse, backed only by drums, and it plays out like a blues-rocker. Pleasant surprises come with Brenda Russell's “A Little Bit of Love” and the Jacksons' “Give It Up” — album highlights that are played straight, make complete sense in Austin’s hands, and add a light touch to the selections. Most peculiar is a hushed version of Depeche Mode's “Enjoy the Silence,” which uses circular panning on Austin’s voice to somewhat ominous effect.

Biography

Born: August 10, 1950 in New York, NY

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A professional since the age of five, Patti Austin was a protégé of Dinah Washington and Sammy Davis, Jr. A 1969 single for United Artists titled "Family Tree" cracked the R&B Top 50. Austin cut her debut LP, End of a Rainbow, for Creed Taylor's CTI label in 1976, followed by Havana Candy in 1977 and Body Language in 1980. She sang lead vocals for Japanese koto player Yutaka Yokokura on "Love Light" in 1978, did a duet with Michael Jackson on "It's the Falling in Love" for Off the Wall, and sang...
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Sound Advice, Patti Austin
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