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Barbara Now

Barbara Harris

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Album Review

It's wonderful when an artist with legendary status like Barbara Harris totally removes herself from the sound that brought her worldwide fame and creates a work so perfect in mood, joy, and magic. The Supremes' boxed set pays homage to Harris' group the Toys, with David Nathan's extensive liner notes citing her smash "Lover's Concerto" as the number one song that gives tribute to the Supremes' sound. Indeed, "I Hear a Symphony" is Diana Ross sounding like Harris, returning the favor. What you hear on Barbara Now is an artist emerging from that wonderful girl group sound — a safe, chic arena — and delivering the goods with a multidimensional recording that touches on many genres. There's a lot of happiness and promise here and, with all the angst and negativity in the world, the creation of a disc full of hope and love is quite a refreshing change. "It's What You Do" is something that Tina Turner should consider for her live shows. The blending of gospel with pure pop has always been a dynamic combination, and Harris does this with so much ease you stop trying to analyze it and just go with the flow of the sounds that build a foundation for her phenomenal voice. Wow. Harris, who legendary producer Bob Crewe had sing a song developed from a classical masterpiece, has herself produced a labor of love with husband/engineer Ken Wiltshire. Wiltshire plays most of the instruments and co-wrote many of the tunes here. "If It's Not So" has a funky Sly Stone kind of subtle power, a neat change of pace from the sublime "I Can't Wait to See You," written by Harris' daughter Shahidah Wiltshire and co-producer Jerome Mitchell. "I Can't Wait to See You" is a sterling potential hit, smart pop with both contemporary hit radio and adult contemporary leanings. "I'll Wait for the Day" is more radio-ready pop, which urban radio should embrace. The gospel elements are imbedded in "I Found Someone," written by Shadeed Muhammad, with all the music performed and arranged by Ken Wiltshire, and loving vocals by Harris. This record is a delight from beginning to end — a powerful statement by an artist who is making music because she has to.

Biography

Genre: R&B/Soul

Barbara Ann Harris, lead vocalist for the '60s pop group the Toys, was born in Elizabeth City, NC, on August 18, 1945. In an exclusive interview on December 6, 2000, for Boston's AM 1670 during the Pop Explosion radio show, Harris told listeners how she began her career: "My aunt is...I guess you would say a pastor, she used to be an evangelist but she kind of graduated and I think she's a pastor now. She owns a church out in Queens, NY, and she's always asking me to come and do concerts for her....I've...
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Barbara Now, Barbara Harris
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