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The Tour (Live)

Mary J. Blige

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Album Review

The hype that surrounded Mary J. Blige in 1992 was definitely excessive, and those who exalted her as the "new Chaka Khan" did both Khan and Blige an unforgivable disservice (few could live up to such a title). But as the 1990s progressed, Blige really did evolve into one of the decade's most appealing R&B vocalists, and she's in good to excellent form on The Tour, which was recorded on her Share My World Tour of 1997-98. The very fact that a live urban contemporary album came out in the late 1990s was quite surprising; after all, R&B had become so technology-driven and studio-oriented that few R&B artists even bothered to make live albums anymore. But Blige was an exception, and she proves herself capable of taking it to the stage on passionate versions of such hits as "My Life," "Mary Jane (All Night Long)," "Reminisce," and "Mary's Joint." Blige could have done without the male band member who tries to function as her onstage cheerleader, but even so, this is an impressive release that her followers will want.


Born: 11 January 1971 in New York, NY [The Bronx]

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

When her debut album, What's the 411?, hit the street in 1992, critics and fans alike were floored by its powerful combination of modern R&B with an edgy rap sound that glanced off of the pain and grit of Mary J. Blige's Yonkers, New York childhood. Called alternately the new Chaka Khan or new Aretha Franklin, Blige had little in common stylistically with either of those artists, but like them, she helped adorn soul music with new textures and flavors that inspired a whole generation of musicians....
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