Okay, sorry for the silly pun, but the music on this CD is great. Actually I am reviewing the 2 on 1 CD of "Syreeta/Stevie Wonder Presents..." which Hip-O Select wisely released this past summer. A great bargain, by the way, at $20 for 2 full albums.
First of all the music on this CD brings up many unanswered questions for a music fanatic like me:
1. Why was the beautiful, talented Syreeta Wright not given her due while she was alive? Sadly, she died earlier this year.
2. Why don't we have a wonderful 8 or 10 Album Collection of Great Syreeta music?
3. Why did Motown not push her career better? I know one reason. Berry Gordy was busy making the disasterous "Mahogony" with Diana Ross.
4. Why were producers not knocking down Syreeta's door to work with her? I know that ex-husband Stevie Wonder who helmed these two albums was busy with his own career, but where were Smokey Robinson, Ashford & Simpson, Richard Perry or Frank Wilson when we needed them. Think of the wonderful music they could have created with Syreeta.
5. Why did these 2 albums not set off an absolute explosion in Black Music (& white for that matter) in the 70's especially with female artists. Sure, Roberta Flack, Patrice Rushen & others were doing good music, along with many male artists, but think of the possibilities of the direction someone like Aretha Franklin might have taken who was showing promise with "Young Gifted & Black". There could have possibly been better things for Diana Ross. I could have seen Barbra Streisand or Dusty Springfield taking off in other directions, perhaps working with Syreeta. With much respect to Carole King, I would call these albums the "Tapestry" of Black Music. No offense to Ms. King, but I actually think this music has aged even better than hers & she did some great stuff.
6. Okay, just one more question. Why was the beautiful "Spinning & Spinning" not a #1 record on the pop charts when so much awful music was hitting the top?
Whew, I'm glad that's over. Now onto the music:
"Because We've Ended Now As Lovers" - A sad, but beautiful song chronicling Wonder & Syreeta's failed marriage. Happily, they remained good friends & the songs about their relationship problmes are done with dignity unlike say "Rumours" by Fleetwood Mac. Check out Jeff Beck's wonderful version of this song.
The re-makes: 1) What other female artist was re-doing the Beatles' "She's Leaving Home" in the early 70's? I would hazard to say that Syreeta's version has more heart in it than the Beatles (who I love) original. 2)She takes Smokey Robinson's oft-recorded song "What Love Has Joined..." & totally makes it her own 3)Her remake of Wonder's "I Love Every Little Thing..." is just as good as his. Listening to them back to back is almost too much in one sitting.
The 2 numbers which close the CD (remember I'm talking about the 2 for One with "Syreeta" & "S Wonder Presents"). Anyway, "I Wanna Be By Your Side" - a duet with GC Cameron of the Spinners & "Universal Sound of the World" are simply stunning - Grammy material in my book.
"Heavy Day" another jazzy ballad is a great companion piece to Wonder's "Superwoman".
A few weak moments prevail. I wouldn't miss "When Your Daddy's Not Around". "Waiting for the Postman" is more of an interlude & not a full song. It has the potential for being a great song. The catchy "Your Kiss Is Sweet" borders on being overly cute, but is still nice.
Anyway, don't take my word. Find this album (both of them) & buy them & see if you don't agree.
By the way, if they haven't already, some of our great musicians should get together & do a Syreeta Tribute Album. Much lesser artists have been given tribute albums. Also, VH1 or BET needs to do a "Behind the Music" retrospective on this talented lady. If BET has already done something, then my hat is off to you!
My dear Syreeta. I'll look for you in heaven!
P.S. One more thing & I promise I'll shut up! If you ever luck into any of her albums like "Set My Love in Motion" pick them up! Though "Set My Love in Motion" is not quite up to par with these 2 albums, it is definitely worth a listen, especially for "I Must Be In Love." Okay, I'm through.