“From You to Me to You” opens Side 1 with a swirling mix of strings and background vocals surrounding Ms. Wilson as she soars above the mix. Chuck Rainey’s electric bass is unmistakable as his round bottom end keeps the funk quotient high. “Love Has Smiled on Us” is a pretty ballad with the vocal taking center stage with a minimum of strings and background vocals. Piano is the primary instrument backing Nancy as she emotes sweetly. “I Don’t Want a Sometimes Man” has a Motown feel only belied by the strings that Berry Gordy would have left out if he had Diana Ross do this number.
“Tree of Life” is a step up in lyrics with a hopeful theme. Written by producer McDaniels, it was covered as well by Aretha Franklin. A gospel choir adds class and emotion. George Duke’s Moog synthesizer adds spacey effects to “Now” while Steve Gadd makes his presence felt on drums. The title track follows as Wilson preaches to the next generation of women including her daughter, born on July 4, 1975. The theme is helping to prepare our children for the future.
“He Never Had It So Good” brings us back to the eternal man/woman struggle. “When We Were One” has some funky guitar, and a feel that would have been appropriate for a movie theme, complete with some extravagant strings and horns arranged by Dave Grusin and Hugh McCracken. “Stay Tuned” ends our 1970s visit with Nancy Wilson, as its bluesy romp is aided by Blue Mitchell’s righteous Flugelhorn solo. It is perhaps the most straight-ahead jazz tune on the album.
For fans of Ms. Wilson who want to hear her in her prime, backed by a potent crew of musicians, with strings, background vocals, and occasional horns to sweeten the mix—all in audiophile splendor—then this album fits the bill well.
Personnel: Nancy Wilson – vocals / Chuck Rainey, bass / Hugh McCracken, Jeff Miranoy, guitars / Dave Gruisin, George Duke, piano, Fender Rhodes / Geroge Duke, Moog / Steve Gadd, drums / Oliver Brown, percussion / Blue Mitchell, flugel horn
Strings and horns arranged by Dave Grusin and Hugh McCracken for Side 2, track 4
1. From You To Me To You
2. Love Has Smiled On Us
3. I Don’t Want A Sometimes Man
4. Tree Of Life
2. This Mother’s Daughter
3. He Never Had It So Good
4. When We Were One
5. Stay Tuned
Cat No: PPAN ST11518
Format: 180 gram LP x 1 standard sleeve
Released: April 2013
Recorded at The Record Plant, Los Angeles, California
Produced by Eugene McDaniels
Arranged by Dave Gruisin, except Side 2, track 4 by Hugh McCracken & Side 1, track 5 by George Duke
Engineer: Phil Boogie Schier
Assistant engineer: Doug Rider