1979: Hot Stuff by Donna Summer
1978: Shadow Dancing by Andy Gibb
1977: Dreams by Fleetwood Mac
1976: Silly Love Songs by Paul McCartney & Wings
1975: Love Will Keep Us Together by The Captain & Tennille
1974: Billy, Don’t Be a Hero by Bo Donaldson & the Heywoods
1973: My Love by Paul McCartney & Wings
1972: Candy Man by Sammy Davis, Jr
1971: It’s Too Late/I Feel the Earth Move by Carole King
1970: The Long and Winding Road/For You Blue by The Beatles
Reba McEntire’s 31st album, Reba Duets brings together artists from all sides of the musical spectrum. Country, pop, and rock talents join in the celebration of Reba’s versatile career. While all these singers are successful on their own, it’s Reba’s show, and it’s her distinct, powerful voice that shines brighter than the stars accompanying her. And that’s the way it should be. It’s no surprise that Reba Duets hit #1 upon its release. Perhaps it’s because she doesn’t give in to changing singing styles to accommodate various singing partners. Reba is country, and so is this album.
Let’s start with the ladies. The strong opener, When You Love Someone Like That, pairs Reba with LeAnn Rimes. These two extraordinary voices harmonize perfectly in this soft country song that tells of heartbreak. The steel and electric guitars add a nice touch. Two women following in the footsteps of Reba and doing very well: Trisha Yearwood and Faith Hill give it their all. She Can’t Save Him and Sleeping With The Telephone are wonderful, musically and lyrically. These three queens of country should team up more often. Another woman who holds her own is Kelly Clarkson. Clarkson composed Because of You, and it offers a nice pop country feel to the album. Both women give a passionate performance. Miss Clarkson should be very proud of her work, because her song really does stand out in this collection. While this listener has the utmost respect for Carole King, Everyday People just doesn’t cut it. It’s a feel-good type of song, but the chorus does very little to inspire. For this occasion, perhaps Ms. King should have taken to playing the piano or composing a song – two things she does so very well.
Reba and some of her male colleagues of country team up on Reba Duets. Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, and Ronnie Dunn of Brooks and Dunn, perform on Faith in Love, Every Other Weekend, and Does the Wind Still Blow In Oklahoma? respectively. Unfortunately, only the third one makes a mark. Ronnie Dunn co-wrote Does the Wind Still Blow In Oklahoma? with Reba. Dunn’s strong southern drawl and the fiddle make this the most ’country’ song on this album. Reba called upon Justin Timberlake to join her. Like Kelly Clarkson, Timberlake penned a song for their collaboration. The Only Promise That Remains comes to life with the fiddle, mandolin, and strings. Timberlake has soul and it comes through here. It’s hard to tell just from listening that it’s Timberlake on this tune until the very end, as he really does let Reba shine by sounding more like a back up singer than a duet partner. While this listener would have liked a little more Justin, this lovely song is one of the strongest contributions to Reba Duets. Don Henley is a superb singing partner on Break Each Other’s Hearts Again. Henley can do country very well, and proves it here. The Vince Gill tune, These Broken Hearts, with its piano, guitars and B-3 organ is a shining moment. When Gill writes a song and opens his mouth to let out his sweet tenor, special things happen. Gill can transcend genres with ease, and blends perfectly with Reba to make magic on These Broken Hearts.
Reba Duets brings together great talent, and will appeal to fans of various genres. It’s a formidable album that celebrates a very talented woman. Even after 31 albums, Reba McEntire still enchants and delights her listeners.
To watch the video for Reba’s classic Fancy, go to the Blogroll and click: Fancy.