Frontwoman for soul group Cooly's Hot Box, Angela Johnson stretches out on her own with this solo debut.

Frontwoman for soul group Cooly's Hot Box, Angela Johnson stretches out on her own with this solo debut. Not just a singer, Johnson dons several hats—keyboardist/violinist/producer/ arranger/songwriter—while she educates listeners as to what they don't know about her. It's a colorful lesson: drawing from R&B, jazz, funk, rock, and gospel, covering subjects from romance to self-esteem, and featuring interludes from the self-taught artist's childhood ("singing the blues at age 5"). With a '70s vibe inherent in her contemporary R&B, Johnson recalls the emotive stylings of sister chanteuses Chaka Khan and Aretha Franklin. Noteworthy cuts include "No Better Love" and the title track. However, the sparse "Cryin' Over U"—a piano-led blues ballad that sparkles with Johnson's plaintive vocals—is the show-stopper here. Released in the U.K. by Dome Records, the album is available in the U.S. via Purpose, which can be reached at 718-622-6203.—GM

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