I decided to compile a list of ten albums released in the decade I was born by women rooted in Blues, Jazz, R&B, Gospel, and Rock. These ten women had established successful careers with well formed catalogs under their belts as they leaped into the 90’s. Some albums may be recognizable, some may not…hopefully you share the appreciation for these divas and respect their attempts to evolve with music as they aged.
Anita Baker - “Compositions” Anita’s fourth album, released in 1990 holds the first track I’d heard by her, “Love You To The Letter” and I instantly fell in love. Her voice is by far
one ofthe most serenading that.there.is.today.period. This album is one of the rarities that can be enjoyed from start to finish.
Gladys Knight - “Good Woman” Of course everyone knows Gladys Knight and if you don’t, pause your latest Young Money download and get to researching. After her decades of showstopping with The Pips, she decided to launch a solo career (
as they all do). Riding that moneytrain into 1991 with this third solo release, including the “Superwoman” collaboration with Patti LaBelle and Dionne Warwick and the infamous title track “Good Woman”. A definite must have for your music collection…if you collect actual music and not auto-tuned tracks that will be remembered twenty years from now only for a goodlaugh, like “???”.
Chaka Khan - “The Woman I Am” After a nine album run with Rufus, her solo ninth release rolled around in 1992 with this timeless collection of songs that were sung only as Chaka could sing them: funky, serenading, refined, and sexy all in one. From “Don’t Look At Me That Way” to “Telephone” to “Give Me All“…classic after classic after classic. Get into it!
Tina Turner - “What’s Love Got To Do With It” Although this was released as a soundtrack, as a kid growing up in the 90’s seeing the movie for the first time…what did I know? However, this 1993 compilation outweighs most studio recorded projects released that year (
in my opinion). I doubt this doesn’t feature a song you’ve heard at least once in your life, be it via radio, commercial, overheard, or even remixed in a club. Make sure it’s in your archives.
Patti LaBelle - “Gems” I don’t believe I know anyone that isn’t familiar with Patti’s “Right Kind of Lover” and if I do…don’t dare admit to it. A bold 1994 emerge on the scene for a once Motown act blasted on radio stations
in Pontiac’sacross the country as Ms. LaBelle gave us “All This Love”, “I Never Stopped Loving You”, and her Dells cover of “Stay In My Corner”. Is this album next on your shuffle?
Diana Ross - “Take Me Higher” Definitely not my favorite 1995 project from the former project diva…however, I did find myself bopping every now and then. Highly
unrecommended to download, something could attract your ear…thieves manage to entrance with their magic and we all know there’s no kleptomaniac like Diana. You have to admit, she did look great and sound devastatingly plain as usualGREAT to have been fifty years-old when this album hit the bargain binshelves.
Phyllis Hyman - “Loving You, Losing You” After slightly over a year of recovering from the loss of a uniquely talented vocalist, this compilation of tracks was released in her memory in 1996. As a fan, I thoroughly enjoyed every track, I would suggest checking it out pronto.
Nancy Wilson - “If I Had My Way” As a totally
unbiased reviewer of this album, knowing I have a love for Nancy Wilson that in some states must be illegal…I’d still have to say this 1997 comeback proves it’s worth loving her to an unhealthy extent. I don’t expect many to know who she is other than knowledge of a cameo on “The Cosby Show” she made as Granny NuNu.
Aretha Franklin - “So Damn Happy” Fearing the wrath of God for excluding her on a list like this, I chose this 1998 project re-released later in 2003. Despite my personal beef with Ms. Franklin’s lack of humility, the hippopotamus can blow…she could fifty years ago and still can. Previewing this album on Amazon or iTunes will prove that. Check it out.
Natalie Cole - “Snowfall on The Sahara” Hoping that said “snowfall” wasn’t cocaine while being serenaded by this mellow yet new age album gave me a chance to appreciate Ms. Co
ke. I never cared too much for her, aside from the drug addiction and resemblance to Scar from “The Lion King“…there just wasn’t much special about her to me, until I finally gave her a thorough listen. Get into this 1999 cokefest croakfestproject from the original Whitney.
Anita Baker // Giving You The Best That I Got
Caught Up In The Rapture by Anita Baker