BeBe Winans
Love & Freedom

BeBe Winans marks his Motown solo debut by returning to an album focused on relationships.Love & Freedom CD It's an album concept that he and his sister CeCe made famous and successful in the late 80's and 90's, even though it generated much discussion the Gospel community, with questions like, "—Is it really Gospel?"

That debate will no doubt continue with Love & Freedom, and BeBe certainly doesn't shy away from the issue. With topics including love, hope, forgiveness and homecomings, he embraces his freedom to write and sing about natural things from a Christian perspective.

As is nearly always the case with a Winans, the music is splendid. BeBe chooses a variety of vocal forces with which to share his musical vision.

BeBe Winans Stephanie Mills jumps gloriously from retirement to duet with him on "Everyday", bringing her distinctive voice to the mix on this relationship love song. And CeCe reunites with her brother on "Tonight, Tonight", a romantic ballad that brings back the paired pipes for the first time in ages. On "Coming Back Home", JOE and Brian McKnight team up to add some touches to the song for BeBe.

On "Jesus Children of America", BeBe tackles the 1973 Stevie Wonder classic by going to source, as Wonder himself takes charge on harmonica, and adds vocal licks in combination with BeBe's brother Marvin Winans. Worth the price of admission alone, this Warryn Campbell production is based on a beat-a-licious organ/drums groove with 70's-style backing vocal support. The three voices package together marvelously in preaching the hope-filled Gospel lyric.

Other album highlights are BeBe's gentle remake of Donnie McClurkin's hit song, "Stand" and the club-beat dance groove of "Brand New Dance", first made popular by his sisters, Angie and Debbie. On Brian McKnight's melody "For the Rest of BeBe WinansMy Life", BeBe caresses the lyric with all the tenderness that the marriage song requires.

On songs where it's just BeBe (more or less), he again demonstrates that he can also carry it all by himself. The title track, where he rides and contrasts his voice over a stacked backing harmonies is ample evidence of that.

BeBe's back.

Producers: Various
album release date: August 29, 2000
Motown Records

reviewed by Stan North

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