Love & Freedom
BeBe Winans marks his Motown solo debut by returning to an album
focused on relationships. 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
album release date: August 29, 2000
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
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.
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 My 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.
reviewed by Stan North —
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