Viglione's CD Reviews November 2000

 

Barbara Now "Barbara Harris"

Artist: Harris, Barbara
Title: Barbara Now
Label: Baheeja Records
Catalog # DIDX 060788
Year: 1998

Produced by Barbara Harris, Jerome Mitchell
and Kenneth Wiltshire
 

When an artist with legendary status like Barbara Harris totally removes herself from
        the sound that brought her worldwide fame,
        and creates a work so perfect in mood, joy,
        and magic, it gives jaded critics an opportunity
        to run to the typewriter and write volumes about
        the value of artists who aren't afraid to take risks.
        The Supremes  boxed set pays homage to
        Barbara's group The Toys  citing in the extensive David Nathan  liner notes her smash 
Lover's Concerto  as the #1 song which gives
        tribute to The Supremes sound. Indeed, I Hear A Symphony   is Diana Ross Sounding like
        Barbara Harris  , returning the favor. What you
        hear on Barbara Now   is an artist emerging from
        that wonderful Girl Group sound everyone adores,
        and delivering the essence of what she's about.
        There's lots of happiness and promise here, and
        with all the angst and negativity in the world, the
        creation of a disc full of hope and love is quite the
        refreshing change. “It's What You Do” is something that Tina Turner needs to consider
        for her live shows. The blending of Gospel with
        pure pop has always been a dynamic combination, and Harris does this with so much
        ease you stop trying to analyze it and just go with
        the flow of the sounds that build a foundation for
        her phenomenal voice. This record came into
        my hands from Jeff Mastroberti  , the New Jersey DJ on WSIA   radio. Barbara heard him on the air and mailed him a copy. After telling me that Barbara had found him and got the disc to him, he realized how interested this critic was in hearing Barbara "now". Wow. The woman who legendary producer Bob Crewe had sing a song developed from a classical masterpiece, has herself produced a labor of love with husband / engineer Ken Wiltshire  . Wiltshire plays most of the instruments and co-writes many of the tunes
        here. “If It's Not So”   has a funky Sly Stone
        kind of subtle power, a neat change of pace from
        the sublime “I Can't Wait To See You”   written by
        Harris daughter Shahidah Wiltshire   and co-
        producer Jerome Mitchell  . “I Can't Wait To
        See You” is such a sterling potential hit, smart pop with both Contemporary Hit Radio and A/C leanings. “I'll Wait For The Day” is more radio-ready pop which Urban radio should embrace. The Gospel elements are imbedded in “I Found Someone”  , written by Shadeed Muhammad  , with all the music performed and arranged by Ken Wiltshire, and guitarist, Jerome Mitchell, and loving vocals by Barbara Harris. This record is a delight from beginning to end, a powerful statement by an artist who is making music because she has to. 
 

        Joe Viglione