Lonette McKee – Natural Love (1992)

FrontCover1An outstanding actress, Lonette McKee is also an accomplished vocalist and pianist. She sang with the Soul Sisters, who were featured on Jonathan Winters’ television show. But she is much better known for her appearances in such films as “Sparkle,” “Cotton Club,” and “Which Way Is Up.” She recorded briefly for Sussex in 1974, but had little luck. (by Ron Wynn)

Lonette McKee’s debut for film director Spike Lee’s Columbia-distributed 40 Acres and a Mule label picks up where her 1978 Johnny Pate-produced Warner Bros. LP, Words and Music, left off, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Issued on October 6, 1992, Natural Love shows that the singer/songwriter’s muse knows no stylistic bounds. As with her earlier effort, McKee co-writes all of the songs while sharing production credits with Bryant McNeil, Gene Lake Jr., and labelmate Raymond Jones of State of Art.

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The whimsical “Watch the Birds” was the lead single. McKee flirts with hip-hop on “Dream of You.” The lovely acoustic guitar-based ballad “Hiding Away” is a gem and the same form is used for the reflective and wise “Nothing Is As It Seems.” The longing “What About You” could have easily fit on Words and Music. Though she recorded during the ’60s in her native Detroit for Clarence Avant’s Sussex label, it’s on Words and Music and Natural Love that McKee comes into her own. (by Ed Hogan)

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Personnel:
Bilal Bashir (programming)
Alvino Bennett (drums)
Chris Durante (guitar)
Ju Ju House (drums)
Nathaniel T. Hughes (percussion)
Raymond Jones (keyboards, background vocals)
Gene Lake, Jr. (drums, percussion)
Daniel T. Le’melle (saxophone)
Lonette McKee (vocals, keyboards)
Bryant S. McNeil (bass)
Robert E. Palmer (guitar, programming)
Dean Parks (guitar)
Anthony Peterson (guitar)
Charles Q. Rubin (guitar)
Richard Tee (organ)
Nathan Watts (bass)
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strings:
Noel Pointer – Cecelia Hobbs Gardner – Sandra C. Park – Elliot Rosoff – Joyce Hammann – John Pintaville – Louann Montesi – Barry Finclair – Shelia Reinhold – Carol A. Pool – Stanley G. Hunte – Sandra N. Billingslea – Winterton Garvey – Ann Labin – Belinda Whitney Barrett – Cenovia N. Cummins – Jennie Hansen – Alfred Brown – John R. Dexter – Richard Brice – Juliet M. Haffner – Harry Zaratzian – Frederick Zlotkin – Alvin C. McCall – Bruce L. Wang – Erik Freidlander
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background vocals:
Audrey Wheeler – Armstead Christian – Will Downing – Brenda Nelson – Brenda White – Spike Lee, Joie Lee

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Tracklist:
01 Tell Me If This Is Love (McKee) 4.19
02. Watch The Birds (McKee) 4.14
03. Dream Of You (McKee/McNeil) 3.51
04. Sweeter & Sweeter (McKee) 4.31
05. Hiding Away (McNeil/Peterson) 4.08
06. What About You (McKee) 4.42
07. For Your Love (Lake/McNeil(Corbette) 4.08
08. Save This Precious Love (Our Precious Animals) (McKee) 3.24
09. Nothing Is As It Seems (McNeil/Peterson) 5.39
10. Don’t Wake Me Up (If I’m Dreamin’) (McKee) 4.58

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