Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Patti LaBelle

  • Winner in You [MCA, 1986] B
  • Live in Washington, D.C. [Philadelphia International/Legacy, 2008] Dud

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Winner in You [MCA, 1986]
No previous crossover diva has purveyed such an out-and-out fabrication. Tina's weathered sexpot, Whitney's soulful yuppie--these are credible plays on credible personas. But though Patti is managed by her longtime husband and advised by her longtime son, she nevertheless keynotes her multiplatinum bid with a tribute to the loneliness of the soulful yuppie, written by yet another successfully married couple but inspired I'm sure by one-cut-stand Michael McDonald (cf. Tina meets Bryan, Aretha meets George, and I bet Whitney trades Jermaine in on Phil Collins or somebody next time). Then again, Patti doesn't start out with such surefire goods--her abrasive nasality has always kept her reputation cult. Which is why it's just as well for Patti that Richard Perry overwhelms the eight other producers: beats and tunes kick in till you could care less what organ she's singing through. B

Live in Washington, D.C. [Philadelphia International/Legacy, 2008] Dud