One of the biggest acts of the eighties, Lionel Richie was born in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1949 so, as he declares, he's a country boy at heart. But Richie has never been that far from country music in his career. After all, he did write and produce Kenny Roger's US #1 hit "Lady" in 1980 and a year later he took it to #8 with the Commodores. Here, Lionel Richie duets with Kenny Rogers in a perfect reprise of one of Richie's most beautiful songs.
Blessed with a silky, smoky voice, ideally suited to the soulful ballads that he purveys, he is also a prolific songwriter and all of the thirteen songs that made the US top ten between 1981 and 1986 were written by him. On Tuskegee, he reprises eight of those hits but this time with some of country's top performers. "Endless Love" was originally a #1 with Diana Ross, but here there is a sumptuous version with Shania Twain, with both in perfect harmony and with a dramatic arrangement. Released as a single in the United States it deserves to be a hit all over again.
There are three other original #1 hits reworked on this album: "Say You, Say Me" with Jason Aldean; "Hello" with Jennifer Nettles and "All Night Long" complete with steel drums and having a good time with the irrepressible, Jimmy Buffet.
The album also contains three of Lionel's Commodores' hits; the fabulous "Easy" with "Willie Nelson; the above mentioned "Lady" and "Sail On" with the Swedish singer, Jill Johnson.
The album works on several levels. First, as a vehicle for Richie's soft, brown, bewitching voice; second, as a platform for some fabulous songs and third as a reminder that R & B and country is a perfect combination. Suffused with country steel and laced with soul, pop, Richie's voice and some sympathetic arrangements this album should have wide appeal.