Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Donna (Still Sizzling-Hot) Summer

Donna Summer has an most impressive body of work of any artist associated with the disco era, selling some 130 million recordings. Her voice, powerful in the mid-range and thrilling when it soars, is still a wonder, and on stage she plays to perfection the role of approachable icon.

Her first brush with international acclaim was in 1975 with the disco favorite "Love to Love You Baby," but by decade's end she had added blues, funk, rock and soul to her sound on "Bad Girls," the best-selling album of her career.

Her first new album in 17 years, "Crayon" is a musical variety pack. The blistering "I'm a Fire" is as close as the album gets to disco. "Sand on My Feet" is a folk-rock ballad; "Drivin' Down Brazil," a samba; and the title cut, featuring Ziggy Marley, a reggae pop tune. "Slide Over Backwards" nestles her in with country harmonica and snapping percussion that bring to mind a back-porch blues jam. The ballad "Be Myself Again" is a powerhouse showcase for the singer.

WSJ 7/10/08, Jim Fuselli reporting

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