Rufus: Chaka Khan (vocals); Tony Maiden (guitar, vocals); Kevin Murphy (keyboards); Bobby Watson (bass, vocals); Andre Fischer (drums).
Additional personnel: The Tower Of Power Horn Section.
Rufus & Chaka Khan: Bobby Watson (bass guitar).
Personnel: Tony Maiden (vocals, guitar); Kevin Murphy (vocals, keyboards); Andr‚ Fischer (vocals, drums); Bobby Watson, Chaka Khan (vocals); Tower of Power (horns).
Recording information: Kendun Recorders; Record Plant.
RUFUS FEATURING CHAKA KHAN is another in the band's string of slinky, R&B-charged albums. Guitarist Tony Maiden, keyboardist Kevin Murphy, drummer Andre Fischer, and bassist Bobby Watson weave a web of jazzy melodies and airtight, syncopated rhythms from start to finish. But the group's real weapon, as the title indicates, is in the powerhouse pipes of Chaka Khan, one of R&B's indisputably great talents. Khan's elastic vocals are simultaneously sultry, sly, and gently lilting, and stun equally on melody-centered R&B numbers ("Fool's Pardise") and no-nonsense funk workouts ("Have a Good Time").
Though the lean sound of the group's standard instrumental quartet is plenty powerful, there is the welcome addition here of horns by the Tower of Power and tasteful string charts from noted arranger Claire Fischer. The results can be earthy, as on the stripped-down punch of "Dance Wit Me," or sophisticated, as on the heady, down-tempo soul of "Everybody Has an Aura." Even the band's decelerated cover of "Jive Talkin'" holds an appeal with its rootsy, old-school groove (delivering a punch lacking in the Bee Gees' disco original). One of Rufus's definitive recordings, FEATURING CHAKA KHAN is a strong dose of high-quality 1970s R&B.