Rolling Stone - 3/9/95, pp.64-663.5 Stars
- Very Good - "...On THE SWEETEST DAYS, Williams continues to conquer new territory and redefine her artistic identity, with splendid results..."
Musician - 3/95, p.84
"...If she wants to stretch she's gonna stretch.... DAYS'...stripped-down approach reveals her restraint as a virtue. Her style is devoid of excess mannerism; she knows how to squeeze a note without milking it, displaying a natural actor's instinct not to chew the scenery..."
Personnel includes: Vanessa Williams (vocals); Soul Man (rap vocals); Nick Moroch (guitar, Mellotron, synthesizer); Ricardo Silveira, Dan Huff, Ira Siegel, Larry Carlton (guitar); Toots Thielemans (harmonica); Joe Menonna, Dominic Cortese (accordion); Ron Blake (saxophone); Roy Hargrove (trumpet); Leon Pendarvis (piano); Keith Thomas (piano, bass, programming); Phillipe Saisse (piano, keyboards); Joel Diamond (organ); Greg Phillinganes (Fender Rhodes); Laythan Armor (Fender Rhodes, programming); Gerry E. Brown (keyboards, sound effects); Jeff Bova, Phil Galdston (keyboards, programming); Roy Ayers (vibraphone); Ron Carter (acoustic bass); Armand Sabal-Leco, Anthony Jackson, Pino Palladino (bass); Kenwood Denard, Peter Erskine, James Murphy (drums); Paulihno Da Costa (percussion); Sting, Babyface (background vocals).
Producers: Gerry E. Brown, Vanessa Williams, Babyface, Keith Thomas, Phil Galdston.
"The Way That You Love" was nominated for a 1996 Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, and "You Can't Run" was nominated for Best R&B song.
Personnel: Vanessa Williams (vocals, background vocals); Soul Man (rap vocals); Nick Moroch (guitar, mandolin, Mellotron, synthesizer); Gerry Brown (guitar, electric piano); Ira Siegel, Larry Carlton, Ricardo Silveira (guitar); Dann Huff (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Jeff Bova (strings, Mellotron, keyboards, programming); Toots Thielemans (harmonica); Dominic Cortese, Joe Mennonna (accordion); Ron Blake (saxophone); Roy Hargrove (trumpet); Philippe Saisse (piano, keyboards); Keith Thomas (piano, programming); Leon Pendarvis (piano); Laythan Armor (Fender Rhodes piano, programming); Greg Phillinganes (Fender Rhodes piano); Joel Diamond (organ); Phil Galdston (keyboards, synthesizer); Babyface (keyboards, drum programming); Roy Ayers (vibraphone); Ron Carter (acoustic bass); James Murphy , Kenwood Dennard, Peter Erskine (drums); Paulinho Da Costa, Carol Steele (percussion); Randy Walker, J. Dibbs, Mark Hammond (programming); Fonzi Thornton, Abenaa, Kenny Hicks, Sting, Tabitha Fair, Brock Walsh, Bunny Hull (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Gerry Brown ; Mick Guzauski; Mike Scott ; Bill Malina; Bill Whittington.
Photographer: Peter Lingberg.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Dexter Simmons; The Nashville String Machine.
Arrangers: Gerry Brown ; J. Dibbs; Laythan Armor; Nick Moroch; Phil Galdston; Vanessa Williams ; Brock Walsh.
When she was simply a former Miss America, scandalously stripped of her title, not many people had the foresight to predict that Vanessa Williams would one day become a Grammy-nominated recording artist and Broadway star. Well she has, and these are now THE SWEETEST DAYS for Vanessa. It is her family's inspiration that brings Williams to this turning point in her career; and THE SWEETEST DAYS is a subdued, artistically refined, jazz-inflected album that takes her pop and R&B stylings to a sophisticated next level.
Vanessa has a splendid voice, strong enough to command the intricacies of the complex rhythms and chord progressions of this demanding collection. "The Sweetest Days" is a lovely ballad which gracefully shows off the rich timbre in her voice--a full palette with a deep-hued range. "Higher Ground," her duet with a crisp electric guitar, is gospelized R&B. The melody and the strings of "You Don't Have To Say You're Sorry" harken back to the classics of the '40s. "Ellamental" is an effective jazz/hip-hop tribute to the first lady of jazz, Ella Fitzgerald. Sting's "Sister Moon" gets a fluid, slow-groove treatment. The Latin-flavored, upbeat "Betcha Never" is the most contemporary track on this otherwise retro-jazz collection.
Williams' former sash and crown now seem quite frivolous compared to the wealth of beauty displayed on THE SWEETEST DAYS.