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RECORD RACK

* * * * Great Balls of Fire * * * Good Vibrations * * Maybe Baby * Running on Empty : : REINED-IN R&B

October 25, 1987|CONNIE JOHNSON

* * TAWATHA. "Welcome to My Dream." Epic. Along with Chaka Khan, Tawatha has one of the most identifiable female voices in R&B/pop. Unlike Khan, she rarely gets the chance to show it off with appropriately high-caliber material. She scored big in 1983 with "Juicy Fruit," a salacious hit for Mtume, the group she's still a member of. This solo album contains several songs she co-wrote with her mentor James Mtume, and Tawatha comes across as reined-in and conservative--hardly the stuff of a dazzling debut. "Thigh Ride" is sexy, though not as immediately attention-grabbing as "Juicy Fruit," while the rock-oriented "Are You Serious" gives her a chance to rail aggressively against a lover with a noncommittal posture. Elsewhere, Tawatha toils gamely, but doesn't really go that extra mile in establishing her own credentials.

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