Bunny Sigler - From Bunny With Love & A Little Soul (2012)

Bunny Sigler
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The first track on Bunny Sigler’s From Bunny With Love & a Little Soul, "Sweet Lorraine," sports a title straight out of the Great American Songbook. I hear that title, and the first thing that comes to mind is Nat King Cole tinkling the ivories as he leads his trio. Knowing a bit about Sigler’s history as a vocalist and a hit maker during Gamble and Huff’s wheelhouse days at Philadelphia International, a record of standards would kind of make sense. He’s an industry veteran who is not exactly a household name with the younger generation of fans. However, an album that only looks back would ignore the more contemporary part of Sigler’s resume. He has also worked with some hip-hop and R&B stars, and has the artist’s natural curiosity about what’s happening now. So, in that respect, it should not be surprising that every track on From Bunny With Love & a Little Soul is original.

The first track on Bunny Sigler’s From Bunny With Love & a Little Soul, "Sweet Lorraine," sports a title straight out of the Great American Songbook. I hear that title, and the first thing that comes to mind is Nat King Cole tinkling the ivories as he leads his trio. Knowing a bit about Sigler’s history as a vocalist and a hit maker during Gamble and Huff’s wheelhouse days at Philadelphia International, a record of standards would kind of make sense. He’s an industry veteran who is not exactly a household name with the younger generation of fans. However, an album that only looks back would ignore the more contemporary part of Sigler’s resume. He has also worked with some hip-hop and R&B stars, and has the artist’s natural curiosity about what’s happening now. So, in that respect, it should not be surprising that every track on From Bunny With Love & a Little Soul is original.

Sigler doesn’t shy away from embracing both classic and contemporary sounds - touching on both the 70s soul vibes where he reached his initial success, while also embracing the ultra modern production techniques that he picked up while working today’s hit makers. What listeners get on From Bunny With Love in a project that features a lot of good moments, but also a few that are kind of blah and a couple that are derivative and cringe worthy.

First the good: I let my son listen to Sigler’s “You Never Know,” and he thought that he was listening to song by T-Pain. That means that Sigler penned a track that could get some airplay on one of these Hot R&B and hip-hop stations. That track sports a bouncy Latin melody and finds Sigler employing auto-tune. But before you panic and accuse Sigler of selling out, you have to listen to the Spanish guitar flourishes and the tight backing harmonies – especially on the hook. This is a really, really good song, and hearing it the listener will understand why contemporary artists such as Nelly and Jay-Z seek out Sigler.

“You Never Know” can be found in the first half of the album, and Sigler is definitely on top of his game there. Sigler shows that he can stretch his soft tenor vocal range with ease on the ballad “To Love Again,” a track with harmonies that will remind some of that classic Whispers’ sound, while “Nobody Else For Me” could be a steppers’ anthem.

From Bunny With Love loses both momentum and direction in the second half. “How Bad Do You Want It,” Sigler's attempt to pen a bedroom ballad – ala Marvin Gaye – comes off as a derivative, cliché filled parody. “Super Guy” has the funky sound of Curtis Mayfield and finds Sigler boasting of his macking swagger, and it could have worked had Sigler given it an ironic twist. Instead he sang it straight, and it just comes off as dated. The irony comes from the fact that Sigler follows that tune up with the inspirational “I Wish” – a rambling number where the artist sings about world he wants to live in. But not all of the tracks on the second half of From Bunny With Love are misses: Sigler goes hard on the bass driven and percussive funky torch song, “In a Minute,” and the final track, the doo-wop style kiss off ballad “Face the Music,” is absolutely wonderful.

Sigler’s From Bunny With Love & a Little Soul is probably twice as long as it needs to be. Still, there’s more than enough meat here to remind listeners why artists and record executives have been beating a path to Sigler’s door for the better part of six decades. Moderately Recommended

By Howard Dukes

 
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