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Album Review

October 09, 1998|CONNIE JOHNSON

** 1/2 Chaka Khan, "Come 2 My House," NPG/Earth Song Entertainment. Who knew that the gritty, rough-hewn music she made as a member of Rufus represented the true essence of Khan? There are songs here so reminiscent of that early-'70s sound that the only thing missing is Tony Maiden and his earnest, diva-supporting vocals.

Khan has boasted that it took just three weeks of studio time to complete this album, which was co-written and co-produced by the former Prince (who released it on his label and booked Khan to open his shows, including Thursday's Great Western Forum date). It feels as if it were done that quickly, given the no-frills nature of several tracks.

Back when he was an artist rather than the Artist, most Prince-produced records contained real trend-setting, almost reckless innovation. Khan is no conservative shrinking violet herself, so it's a letdown that this album doesn't go out on more of a limb.

The highlights are simple treasures such as the moving, autobiographical "This Crazy Life of Mine," a song that should resonate with Khan fans who have followed her career from the Rufus days to the present.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.

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