Turn Me Loose: Deluxe Edition
Following Lost & Found, an album that earned Ledisi a pair of Grammy nominations, Turn Me Loose partially roots itself in the singer's past work and otherwise branches out from it. The album's title, as well as its cover, indicates a new, brash direction -- one that makes up only a portion of the set. Throughout the opening "Runnin," "Knockin'," and stretches of a couple other songs -- not to mention a charging, howling cover of Buddy Miles' "Them Changes" -- Ledisi and her band deliver rocking funk that cooks as hot as Labelle's "Messin' with My Mind" and "What Can I Do for You," or anything by Van Hunt. Here, Ledisi wails and belts with a kind of power previously untapped -- in recorded form, at least -- all the while maintaining remarkable finesse. "I Need Love," one of the collaborations with Ivan Barias and Carvin Haggins, is another highlight, seductively melancholy over a slick and slippery rhythm, while the title track's bluesy Southern soul backdrop seems just as ideal for Ledisi's voice. Most of the material that is in the vein of the subdued, sophisticated R&B showcased throughout much of Soulsinger and Lost & Found is fine, if sporadically tepid -- something that really comes through when heard with the harder material. Verve Forecast might be a little sheepish about their artist straying from the style that brought them success; on the sticker affixed to the album, the label singles out three songs, none of which break a sweat. They really should help her expose the versatility as much as possible. ~ Andy Kellman, Rovi
Track samples provided courtesy of iTunes
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