Yolanda Rabun - Yolanda (2016)

Yolanda Rabun
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It’s clear why Yolanda Rabun would want to sing a song titled “Take The Day Off.” She doesn’t get too many of those. Rabun makes music like her new self-titled record when she is not working as a corporate lawyer or acting in live theater or engaged in a variety of volunteer activities or traveling the world as a motivational speaker.

Rabun is certainly a woman of many talents and, as listeners will learn on Yolanda, she plows into the soul, jazz and great American songbook canon to create covers that honor the spirit of the source material while being endowed with the Atlanta native’s unique voice. Rabun’s selection of covers is both adventurous and diverse, with covers tunes made famous by Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Robert Flack, Lee Ann Womak and the Gershwin Brothers. You do that many covers and you gotta fit a Songbook selection in somewhere.

It’s clear why Yolanda Rabun would want to sing a song titled “Take The Day Off.” She doesn’t get too many of those. Rabun makes music like her new self-titled record when she is not working as a corporate lawyer or acting in live theater or engaged in a variety of volunteer activities or traveling the world as a motivational speaker.

Rabun is certainly a woman of many talents and, as listeners will learn on Yolanda, she plows into the soul, jazz and great American songbook canon to create covers that honor the spirit of the source material while being endowed with the Atlanta native’s unique voice. Rabun’s selection of covers is both adventurous and diverse, with covers tunes made famous by Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Robert Flack, Lee Ann Womak and the Gershwin Brothers. You do that many covers and you gotta fit a Songbook selection in somewhere.

A good example of Rabun’s ability to find that sweet spot between being reverential to the source material while introducing her personality to a tune, is her rendition of “Be My Husband,” a blues song that was most notably done by Nina Simone. Simone’s version featured on her 1965 album Pastel Blues was actually written by her husband at the time, Andrew Stroud. The arrangement is sparse, featuring Simone’s foot stomping and hand claps with a drummer working the hi-hat. The Simone version is roots music at the most basic level and it works with Simone’s husky voice giving the tune a tent revival feel. Rabun maintains that hand-clapping and foot stomping percussive feel, but her version has more of a blues rock feel with guitars, and keyboards and bass.

Meanwhile, Rabun seemingly give Flack’s “Feel Like Making Love” more a jazz feel by slowing the pace down a tad and giving the tune a little more swing. This is a subtle but distinct change that plays to Rabun’s experience as a singer of jazz and show tunes.

Yolanda also contains original tunes that showcase Rabun’s diversity as well. “Yes” is a gospel tinged ballad that would be an ideal addition any couple’s wedding day soundtrack, while “Set For Life” is mid-tempo adult R&B ballad, and the fun lounge act influenced “Take the Day Off” is a tune that Rabun sang with a little more gusto. Rabun definitely knows how to stay busy, and she will have include performing the solid Yolanda to her filled itinerary. Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 

 
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