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Lenny Kravitz: Mama Said

Album Reviews:

Rolling Stone (5/13/99, p.55) - Included in Rolling Stone's "Essential Recordings of the 90's."

Rolling Stone (4/18/91) - 3 Stars - Good - "...a talent for crafting and arranging engaging songs..."

Album Notes

Personnel: Lenny Kravitz (vocals, guitar, organ, bass, drums); Slash, Adam Widoff (guitar); Nancy Ives (cello); Karl Denson, Butch Tomas (saxophone); Mike Hunter (trumpet); Sean Ono Lennon (piano); Henry Hirsch (keyboards, bass); Lebron Scott (bass); Zoro (drums).

On MAMA SAID, Lenny Kravitz builds on the edgy soul-rock of his debut, streamlining his sound in both songcraft and production. The opener, "Fields of Joy," moves from ethereal verses that evoke a bucolic summer's day to power-chord-heavy refrains and screaming guitar solos. The Stax/Volt-esque soul of "Stand By My Woman," the bossa nova groove of "What Goes Around Comes Around" (which finds Kravitz mining a clear Curtis Mayfield influence), and the heavily phased rocker "Stop Draggin' Around" are all finely honed tributes to classic '60s and '70s sounds.

That Kravitz is an unabashed fan of the old school is what, ultimately, makes his music so enjoyable, and he manages to synthesize his influences with style and economy. MAMA SAID's two standout tracks, "Always on the Run" and "It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over," are cases in point. The former is a lean, riff-driven rock song that recalls both Jimi Hendrix and early Funkadelic; the latter a string-sweetened ballad that could have been pulled straight from the Philly Soul catalogue. Kravitz's flair for re-imagining rock, pop, and soul, topped by his fine production sense, keeps it all appealing. The buttons he pushes are no less pleasurable for being so familiar.


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