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What Cha' Gonna Do for Me

Chaka Khan

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Album Review

As a vocalist, Chaka Khan is the one of the very few who often doesn't need great material to prosper. Thankfully, on What Cha' Gonna Do for Me that isn't the case. Teaming again with Arif Mardin, slowly but surely the two began to craft an even more successful and innovative sound. This effort not only bests the work before it, but it is Mardin's most fulfilling production since 1974's Average White Band. The cover of "We Can Work It Out" gets a brash and funky Stevie Wonder-style arrangement, with Gregory Phillanganes doing great synth work. The biggest hit here is the melodic title track and has Khan's patented mix of sexiness and intelligent phrasing. The best song here, "I Know You, I Live You," displays the brilliant bass and drum team of Anthony Jackson and Steve Ferrone, whose innovation all but rendered Rufus obsolete. Their pounding yet refined sound is also on "We've Got Each Other," a hooky and propulsive duet with Khan's brother Mark Stevens. The ambitious and much loved "And the Melody Still Lingers On (Night in Tunisia)" had Mardin and Khan creating pithy lyrics that paid homage to '40s jazz legends as well as all other subsequent musical geniuses. The track features a clavitar solo from Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, and an "excerpted" solo break from Charlie Parker. Throughout What Cha' Gonna Do for Me, Mardin seems to get amazing vocals from Khan and has he certainly had fun playing with her voice. What Cha' Gonna Do for Me is arguably the best effort of their partnership.

Biography

Born: 23 March 1953 in Great Lakes, IL

Genre: R&B/Soul

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

Best known in the mainstream for her superb 1984 cover of Prince's "I Feel for You," R&B singer Chaka Khan enjoyed solo success as well as popularity as a member of the group Rufus. Born Yvette Marie Stevens in Great Lakes, IL, on March 23, 1953, she was raised on Chicago's South Side, and at the age of 11 formed her first group, the Crystalettes. While still in high school, she joined the Afro-Arts Theater, a group which toured with Motown great Mary Wells; a few years later, she adopted the...
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What Cha' Gonna Do for Me, Chaka Khan
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