Tracy Hamlin – No Limits

Tracy Hamlin "No Limits"It’s been ten years already since the release of singer Tracy Hamlin‘s first solo album “Seasons”. Before her solo debut, she was lead vocalist for Pieces Of A Dream and recorded a couple of albums with them. Now comes album number five for the Baltimore-born songstress who has a striking similarity to the great Stephanie Mills. Her new album has different producers and thus, different moods and styles. Her most ardent work is that with Frank McComb here who wrote and produced the sultry “Plans For Two” (a typical Frank composition with all his signature trademarks). The album starts with the rocky “Same Song”, produced by Michele Chiavarini.

Tracy recorded one cover song for her album: “Emotion”, by Webster Lewis (also from Baltimore, originally from his 1979 LP “8 For The 80s” and a year later recorded by the great Merry Clayton), sticks mostly to the original except for the striking strings. The track was produced by Raymond Barton (who did the majority here with seven tracks), as was the beautiful ballad “One Day In Your Life” which features Kim Scott on flute and where the similarity to Stephanie is most evident.

Raymond also produced the very catchy “Standby” (coming right out of the James Mtume/Reggie Lucas book) which is my personal highlight on this album. Lorenzo Johnson is responsible for the title track which also hearkens back to the 80s but is a relatively modest affair, as is the downtempo groove ballad “Like A Woman Should”. Things pick up again with the club-friendly “Givin’ Me Sumthin'” (produced by John Khan and Earl Tutu), a sexy scorcher with a twist. “Cover Me” really left me cold and Frank McComb is back again on the Ronald Hinkson and Dellie Florenville-produced “My Good Day”, this time as duet partner. A nice funky ditty.

The remaining tracks are a pompous ballad (“Forever With You”) and a dancefloor stormer (“I Love Soul Music”) . In addition, there are two remixes of “No Limits” by Tom Glide, a house remix of “Givin’ Me Sumthin'” which works well, and a remix of “Cover Me”.

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