Syreeta – Syreeta (review)

 

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* Soul to soul: Scored the 1980 hit “With You I’m Born Again” with Billy Preston; sang with sister sopranos Minnie Riperton and Deniece Williams on Stevie Wonder’s “Ordinary Pain”; was a foremother to later ethereal charmers like Sade and Aaliyah.

* The lowdown: For more than 10 years, this sweet soprano was Stevie Wonder’s muse. Even after their two-year marriage ended in 1972, they continued working together. This 1971 album finds producer Wonder in the same experimental mode that inspired his “Music of My Mind,” released the same year. He uses early Moog synthesizers to craft burping funk (“I Love Every Little Thing About You”), space-age jazz (“Black Maybe”) and warped Britpop (a cover of the Beatles’ “She’s Leaving Home”). But the album comes alive because of Syreeta’s plaintive croons, which sound as if she’s sitting alone in a room, lost in her own gentle thoughts.

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