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Terri Wells: Just Like Dreamin' *

Album Notes

Philadelphian Terri Wells had sung in '70s soul group City Limits and contributed the lead vocal to contemporary Dexter Wansel's Top 40 R&B hit "The Sweetest Pain" prior to releasing this underrated solo effort in 1984. The set is notable for its distinctively smooth jazz-oriented take on contemporary R&B. It's an element that most seasoned R&B vocalists -- busy living up to the radio trends of the day -- didn't catch on to until several years later. The most remarkable track here, outright, is the gorgeous, sailing, midnight groove "You Make It Heaven." Nick Martinelli's warm production plays perfect complement to Wells' elegant yet very personable delivery of the song's simple, straightforward premise. The jazzy up-tempo number "I'm Givin' All My Love" and Wells-written title track are also particularly notable. A few tracks linger in the distance: "Can't Stop" and "I Already Know" are routine pop/R&B workouts. But they're worth skipping over for the luster of the rest. Wells sounds strong and clear throughout, crafting a unique brand of laid-back soul (think Minnie Riperton meets Natalie Cole). It's truly sad that her talent escaped the mainstream's eye, while far-less-capable vocalists such as Janet Jackson and Paula Abdul went on to enjoy massively successful runs. ~ Justin M. Kantor


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