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The Week Ahead

Mom promotes CD for an ailing Vandross

June 09, 2003|Geoff Boucher

The new album from Luther Vandross arrives in stores this week, but the singer is still in a New York hospital recovering from a debilitating stroke suffered April 16. That has led not only to some emotional situations for those involved in the R&B singer's life, but also to some discomfort for his label, J Records, which will not be able to promote the album with the usual music videos, media circuit and stage appearances.

The new album is called "Dance With My Father," but it has been the singer's mother, Mary Vandross, who has gone public to promote the new material and also to reach out to her son's sad fans. Last week, Mary Vandross appeared on CNN, "Entertainment Tonight" and other outlets to herald the new CD, and this Tuesday she is scheduled for "The Early Show" on CBS and the "Today" show on NBC. On the latter, Tamyra Gray will sing the album's emotional title track, recorded by Vandross as a tribute to his father, who died when the singer was 7.

The new 14-track collection features duets with Beyonce Knowles, Queen Latifah, Busta Rhymes and Foxy Brown. It's a follow-up to the 2001 "Luther Vandross" disc that went platinum and helped re-establish the veteran R&B singer.

Vandross, 52, remains in guarded condition. After his stroke, he weathered a bout of pneumonia and a tracheotomy.

He has since shown signs of alertness and recognition and has also begun some light physical therapy, according to an Associated Press report last week. The long-term impact of his stroke remains uncertain.

Mary Vandross said in a posting on her son's Web site that he believed this was the finest songwriting of his career. "Knowing how he loves this new album, I believe Luther would want it to come out now and I'm so grateful that he can get this chance. He is going to recover and when he does, I want him to be greeted with a big success story. He has to recover, he's all I have left, he's my last surviving child."

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