'Naked (To the World)' keeps the groove loud and strong


May 10, 1991|By J.D. Considine | J.D. Considine,Sun Pop Music Critic


Nicki Richards (Atlantic 82230)

Usually, when R&B acts take from hip-hop, they soften the sound, leaving all the hardest stuff out on the street. Not "Naked (To the World)," though. No matter how sweetly Nicki Richards might sing, the groove comes through loud and strong, and that's as true of conventional pop material like "Summer Breeze" or the Isley Brothers' "Voyage to Atlantis" as it is with tough, rap-edged numbers like "Naked" or "New Days of Rage." Yet as big as these beats get, Richards never has trouble being heard -- which, given the power and suppleness of her voice, makes this eminently danceable album all the more enticing


Sounds of Blackness (Perspective 28969 1000)

In calling its new album "The Evolution of Gospel," Sounds of Blackness is probably overstating the case a bit; after all, these songs tend to tell us more about the choir's sense of spectacle than its understanding of music history. Still, you can't blame them for choosing such an overblown phrase, because that's about the only way the title could possibly convey the epic sweep of these performances. From choral show pieces like "Chains" to state-of-the-funk workouts like "The Pressure" (the latter boasting a rhythm track beefed-up by producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis), Sounds of Blackness shows that, in

gospel at least, thinking big has its advantages.


Various Artists (Rhino 70740)

Year after year, some of the greatest performers in popular music converge upon New Orleans for the annual Jazz and Heritage Festival, and year after year, those of us who don't get there writhe in agony over reports of the music we missed and the food we didn't try. Fortunately, "Alligator Stomp, Vol. 2" provides partial relief, easily quenching the listener's thirst for classic Louisiana music. Running the gamut of Cajun and zydeco music, from modernizers like Clifton Chenier and Beausoleil to traditionalists like John Delafose or the Balfa Brothers, it offers an impressive overview in a mere 53 minutes. And if they could figure out a way to pack some crawfish etouffier in with the disc, "Alligator Stomp" would be almost as good as being there.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.