100 Essential Albums – Number 32 – Evolution – Oleta Adams (1993)

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Something a little different today ……………

I have recently compiled my list of my top 100 albums/CDs of all time and would like, over the coming months to share these with you.  These are my recommendations for the ultimate music library.  Maybe you’ll agree with some of my choices.  I’m not going to count them down but do them alphabetically starting with the “a’s” and Oleta Adams who sits just outside of my Top 30.

32. Evolution – Oleta Adams (1993) – UK Chart Position – 10

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This is the 1993 follow up to the UK chart-topping (yet in my opinion) patchy 1990 album “Circle of One”. With this album Oleta delivered a much stronger collection of songs and probably one of the Ultimate Quality Soul albums. This is sophisticated soul music at its best. Oleta puts her stamp on the album from the off by penning the first two tracks- “My Heart Won’t Lie” is an attractive, understated opener with a similar, slightly mournful and elegiac tone as “Get Here”, the previous album’s big hit. This is followed up by the lovely “Hold Me For A While”- excellent song, brilliantly performed – what more could one ask? James Taylor’s “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” has a jazzier feel with David Sanborn on alto sax “I Just Had To Hear Your Voice” is a beauty – perhaps the highpoint of the album. A lovely, stately reassuring performance and an excellent song. Inexplicably, as a single it only limped to number 42 in the UK charts. The next track “(Baby I’ll) Come When You Call” takes things at a slightly lighter pace and is a really attractive little number. The pace speeds up a little more for Adam’s own “Easier To Say Goodbye” – this is the closest we get to dance yet a rocky guitar solo detracts a little from it. “A Lover’s Holiday” is another Adams song – a lilting, mid-tempo track which drifts along very nicely. Another stand-out track from this outstanding album is the Diane Warren penned “The Day I Stopped Loving You” – it’s a cool, classy song topped off with an exemplary performance from Oleta- sounds like another big hit single, but it wasn’t. We are Billy Joel territory for “New York State Of Mind” – a muted trumpet intro into a jazzier/bluesier feel to this track and of course, another excellent performance from Oleta and good keyboards. The title track is up next and it’s another favourite of mine- It’s such an attractive song with that lovely couplet “Welcome back tyrannosaurus/ Evolution is a state of mind”. Can’t think of that many songs that name-check dinosaurs! This just leaves the joyful, gospelesque closer “Window of Hope”- Oleta’s sixth song on the album where she has sole writing credits. It’s a lovely way to close this album which for me has proved to be the highlight of her career.

 

At time of writing this CD can be purchased from Amazon.co.uk for £6.25 new, from 1p used and downloaded for £5.99.  American listeners can download from Amazon.com for $9.49 and purchased used for $0.01