Artist: Thelma Houston
Title: A Woman’s Touch
Genre: R & B-Soul-Pop
Label: Shout! Factory
Thelma Houston may have been a diva in the ‘70s but the title still applies several decades later. She has a smoldering soulful album out now titled A Woman’s Touch. The CD features tracks originally recorded by male singers including Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye and Sting, to mention a few.
The songs are from a woman’s vantage point but even the male listener can reinterpret it all from their side and find enjoyment and appreciation for what Houston accomplishes on this outing. From any viewpoint, this is good music and it comes from the tip of Houston’s toes, through her heart, and into your ears. Ultimately, it saturates your soul as well.
Similar to the beginning of the Lion King, the album opens with a familiar call to the wild, and then Thelma gives the world her own wake up call on “Wake up Everybody.” This opening track has enormous impact and the message comes through as if it was especially for you. I like the way she leads into some of the songs by talking, and then jumps right into her soulful singing. The subjects are all very familiar; “Love and Happiness” (or lack thereof), “Never Too Much,” “Distant Lover” - they are all subjects we can relate to on some level. Perhaps “Medley: Dance (Disco Heat)/You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” will bring longtime fans of Houston’s legacy some smiles and give new fans some idea of why she was on a roll back when disco was all the rage, and how the music still has relevancy today.
This is a triumphant return for Thelma Houston and it makes a statement for women all over the world. Through music, a voice can and will be heard loud and clear, and in this case, I think it will be a very effective way to get the word out about the artist and what its like to look at things through the eyes of a woman with conviction.
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-August 13, 2007
01. Wake Up Everybody
02. Never Too Much
03. Brand New Day
04. Ain't That Peculiar
05. By the Time I Get To Phoenix
06. Distant Lover
07. Love And Happiness
08. Medley: Dance (Disco Heat)/You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)
09. That's the Way Of the World
10. Please Send Me Someone To Love
Artist: Thelma Houston
Labels: Pet Buffalo-Independent Variable Review
Artist: Pet Buffalo
Title: Independent Variable
CD Baby Link
Don’t you wish you had your own Pet Buffalo? Well… probably not, but I do have something better; a band with that peculiar (eccentric) name, and the best part about it is they are high-grade.
Their new release Independent Variable is loaded with emotionally drenched bluesy rock and folk tracks. The lead singer, Teri Hitt, has a voice that dares you to listen and then listen again. She beckons you with her smooth vibrato and you begin to fall into the words. Once you are in the middle of it all there is no turning back. It’s the kind of album I would want to make.
The music presented here is a combination of rock, blues and folk. It all leans more towards an earthy blues rock feel, but the folk element remains a constant thread running through each track and it serves as a jumping off point into the different styles. In addition to singing, Hitt plays the acoustic guitar while Christopher Mark (piano, vocals), Aaron Stephen Chu (electric guitars), Dave Walker (bass), and Andrew Shreve (drums) fill out group. Chu plays some smokin’ licks while the keyboards of Mark complement his stinging leads. And what would all of this great music be without a solid rhythm section to move it all along? The rhythm is spot-on courtesy of Walker and Shreve (spelling is similar to the early Santana drummer).
It is important to lead off with an energetic track, and that is the case here as “Free Yourself” churns out and gets your heart pumping with a driving organ, guitars, and rhythm section. This, however, does not set the precedence for the pace of the album. At times stepping back and mellowing out to sound more Folk-Americana and then reverting to a more upbeat and heavier blues-rock tone is the way this band goes about their work, with moods shifting as each track progresses. The steaming track “Silence” starts with more of a downbeat feel, and then has a crankin’ break at about 2:50 when Chu gets the opportunity to strut his stuff. This becomes common ground throughout this release.
It’s all good from beginning to end, and for this listener Independent Variable rates as a satisfying album that is worth many listens.
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-August 15, 2007
01. Free Yourself
03. Station Open
04. The Real Part
05. Picture Box
06. The Letter
07. Sunny Day
09. Whole and Fine
10. Find a Way
11. My Sister's Garden
12. Back to the Middle
Labels: Saro Tribastone-Fanusa Review
Artist: Saro Tribastone
Genre: Popular Sicilian-Spanish Flamenco-Latin
Label: Quango Music Group
CD Baby Link
Saro Tribastone has spent much of his career composing music for documentaries and touring with various Sicillian music groups; now he introduces his music to audiences around the world with his new EP CD Fanusa. This debut album boasts a modest four tracks, and a running time of approximatly fifteen minutes, and two of the tracks are actually alternate versions of the same song titled “Fanusa”.
The album is like a little slice of the rich Mediterranean musical culture, and is evocative of the region’s landscape and its people. With its flamenco guitar styling and Latin rhythms, however brief, it possesses the ability to transport the listener to that tranquil part of the globe.
The song “Fanusa” is subtle and rhythmic with a Spanish feel. I can imagine driving along the Costa Brava with the sea spread out below me to one side and olive trees poking out of the hill on the other – like a travel show that takes place in my mind.
“Serenade” is a gentle song, the kind you might hear at your table-side on the patio at a Spanish restaurant while dining in the moonlight; it is soft and catchy with a few simple layers. “Danza de la Luna Nueva” has a gentle vibrancy, as it builds in intensity it also deconstructs. Both are songs you could find yourself dancing to on your little visit to the old world. Fulvio Farkas on the tablas, Francesco D'Amico on the electric bass, and Nektarios Galanis on the bouzouki all blend together with Tribastone to create this wonderful getaway.
Like any vacation, this CD is over just when you are getting settled in, and that is the most disappointing part about listening to Fanusa. Perhaps this album is meant as a sample, a little travel brochure for a memorable vacation to come. I certainly hope so, because I could really use some more time to enjoy this melodic escape.
Chad Adams - August 14, 2007
03. Danza de la Luna Nueva
04. Fanusa (Acoustic Mix)
Labels: Thelma Houston-A Woman's Touch PR
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Los Angeles, CA-August 13, 2007- Thelma Houston, the dynamic voice behind the disco anthem “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” is back with her first album in over 17 years. In a clever twist, Houston uses A Woman’s Touch (in stores August 14th via Shout! Factory) to transform songs made famous by some of the biggest singers – male singers - in R&B and pop.
The new Cd was entirely conceived by Thelma Houston, as well as executive produced by Thelma in association with Stephen Ford of Diva Central, Inc.
A Woman’s Touch is filled with songs she has long been a fan of. “They are songs I always wished I had recorded,” she explains, “and I loved doing them from a woman’s standpoint.” But Houston doesn’t just put a female spin on the lyrics, she takes over and completely reworks the songs through soul, R&B, blues and dance floor filters. “Ain’t That Peculiar,” and Sting’s “Brand New Day,” get bluesy, sassy make overs, while “Disco Heat/Mighty Real” (a nod to Houston’s disco past and tribute to her old friend Sylvester) starts out a poignant gospel song and closes with Studio 54-era exuberance. Houston revisits another friend from her early career, covering Jimmy Webb’s “By The Time I Get To Phoenix,” (Webb wrote and produced Houston’s 1969 debut album), rebuilding it with incredible old school R&B flair. And then there’s Thelma triumphant return to her dance floor roots with a fierce version of Luther Vandross’ “Never Too Much.”
A Grammy Award winning artist who has released more than 21 albums, “I feel blessed because I’ve never stopped working and I love what I do. I can truly say that I appreciate my career and sometimes it really feels like I’m just getting started,” says Houston.
In the years since “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” topped the pop and dance charts, Houston has toured incessantly, performing over 200 shows each year, including an opening slot on Cher’s Farewell tour. She was recently inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame and honored on the television show Showtime at the Apollo as an Apollo Legend. Most recently she was cast in the role of Madam Zin Zanni in the highly popular play, Teatro Zin Zanni, performed internationally in the touring cast of Fame, starred in the musical Big Otis’ Jump Up Blues Revue (by Tony Award winning director Otis Sallid) and appeared in Oprah Winfrey’s Beloved. A tireless supporter of AIDS related charities, Houston was honored by the City of West Hollywood (CA) in 2003, when it declared January 29th “Thelma Houston Day.”
Born in Leland, MS, Houston moved to Long Beach, CA as a child and continues to reside in Los Angeles today. She signed with Motown Records in 1971 and in 1977, won the Grammy Award for "Best R&B Female Vocal Performance” for “Don’t Leave Me This Way.” Her other hits include "If It's the Last Thing I Do," “Lean On Me,” "I'm Here Again," "Saturday Night, Sunday Morning,” "If You Feel It," and a Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis produced Top 20 R&B dance track "You Used to Hold Me So Tight.”
Contact: Chip Schutzman
Company: Miles High Productions
Address: 6622 Delongpre Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90028
Thelma Houston Website
PR Distributed By MuzikReviews.com for Miles High Productions
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