Album: Dance With My Father

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Album:

Dance With My Father

Artist: Luther Vandross
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Label: J-Records

Given Luther Vandross’s precarious state of health at the time of its release, Dance With My Father’s title track—a tale of yearning for a lost loved one—takes on added poignancy. It’s something of a centerpiece on an album that moves in several directions, reaching for varied constituencies, while ultimately staying focused on Vandross’s trademark buttery vocals. In addition to “Dance,” there’s more adult-contemporary balladry (“Buy Me a Rose”), lightly sassy soul (“If I Didn’t Know Better”), and a number of collaborations with hip-hoppers that often work…

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Given Luther Vandross’s precarious state of health at the time of its release, Dance With My Father’s title track—a tale of yearning for a lost loved one—takes on added poignancy. It’s something of a centerpiece on an album that moves in several directions, reaching for varied constituencies, while ultimately staying focused on Vandross’s trademark buttery vocals. In addition to “Dance,” there’s more adult-contemporary balladry (“Buy Me a Rose”), lightly sassy soul (“If I Didn’t Know Better”), and a number of collaborations with hip-hoppers that often work surprisingly well. While suspending disbelief is hard when considering Luther and Foxy Brown as a couple (“If It Ain’t One Thing”), remakes of soft-R&B classics with Beyonce Knowles and Busta Rhymes prove to be highlights. With the Destiny’s Child singer, Vandross actually improves on the familiar Roberta Flack/Donny Hathaway take of “The Closer I Get to You,” turning in a cut that recalls his slow-burning signature reworking of “A House is Not a Home.” A languid turn at “Lovely Day,” with a purring Busta, works almost as well. (The “Part II” remix is superfluous, however.) Otherwise, Dance is in the vein of post-‘80s Vandross discs, and guaranteed to please fans. —Rickey Wright

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