Unconditional Love

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Andy Kellman
After the Shanachie release Letters from Birmingham managed to peak at only number 15 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart, Ruben Studdard's career could have been viewed as in decline. All four of the singer's previous albums had reached the Top Ten, and his recording budget, along with his exposure, was shrinking. However, he was swept up by Verve due to new label chairman David Foster, a longtime Studdard supporter. Adult contemporary giant Foster played a major role in the making of Unconditional Love, one most likely greater than the productions, arrangements, and keyboards for which he is credited here. (Who else would have thought to dig up his and Boz Scaggs' ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Andy Kellman
After the Shanachie release Letters from Birmingham managed to peak at only number 15 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart, Ruben Studdard's career could have been viewed as in decline. All four of the singer's previous albums had reached the Top Ten, and his recording budget, along with his exposure, was shrinking. However, he was swept up by Verve due to new label chairman David Foster, a longtime Studdard supporter. Adult contemporary giant Foster played a major role in the making of Unconditional Love, one most likely greater than the productions, arrangements, and keyboards for which he is credited here. (Who else would have thought to dig up his and Boz Scaggs' largely forgotten if successful collaboration from the Urban Cowboy soundtrack?) This is a pleasingly straightforward set, dominated by covers, that plays to Studdard's strength as a mature, romantic balladeer. Some of the song selections -- "I Can't Make You Love Me" and "(They Long to Be) Close to You," for instance -- are a tad obvious and plain, but there are several subtle surprises. Paul and Linda McCartney's "My Love" could have been done faithfully, but it sounds like a glistening and snappy dead ringer for something off an early-'80s Luther Vandross album. On Marvin Gaye's "If This World Were Mine," Studdard and Grammy winner Lalah Hathaway are more like Vandross and Cheryl Lynn than Gaye and Tammi Terrell, and the two sound just as natural with one another. There's another nod to the Hathaway family with a cover of "Love, Love, Love," the J.R. Bailey/Ken Williams composition popularized by Lalah's father Donny. This version has more of a lilt to it, and at no point does Studdard sound like he's bearing the weight of living up to a genius. An enjoyable, comfortable release from the singer, Unconditional Love is quite possibly his best work yet.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/4/2014
  • Label: Verve
  • UPC: 602537606177
  • Catalog Number: 001957802
  • Sales rank: 38,432

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Ruben Studdard Primary Artist
Lalah Hathaway Vocals
Najee Flute
David Foster Piano, Keyboards
Brandon Fields Tenor Saxophone
Stevie Wonder Harmonica
Eric Benét Background Vocals
Wayne Bergeron Trumpet
Bernie Herms Keyboards
Chris Walden Trombone
Onree Gill Keyboards
Demonté Posey Keyboards
Reggie Young Bass Guitar
Beate Walden Violin
Jochem van der Saag Synthesizer
Eric Dubose Guitar
Donald Hayes Guitar Synth (Horns)
Gorden Campbell Drums
David Smith Drums
Ginny Luke Violin
Aisha Morris Gill Background Vocals
Technical Credits
Hoagy Carmichael Composer
Neil Diamond Composer
Marvin Gaye Composer
Paul McCartney Composer
Boz Scaggs Composer
Burt Bacharach Composer
David Foster Arranger, Composer, Producer, String Arrangements
James Bailey Composer
Hal David Composer
Leon Huff Composer
Jay Landers Composer
Alan Lindgren Composer
Linda McCartney Composer
Charlie Midnight Composer
Allen Shamblin Composer
Ned Washington Composer
Eric Dawkins Vocal Producer
Eric Benét Producer
Kevin Reagan Art Direction
Bernie Herms Arranger, Composer, Producer, Horn Arrangements, String Arrangements
Chris Walden Horn Arrangements
Onree Gill Producer, String Arrangements
William Scaggs Composer
Warryn Campbell Programming, Producer, Instrumentation
Lindy Robbins Composer
David Foster Composer
Vlado Meller Mastering
Demonté Posey Arranger, Producer, Engineer, drum programming
Ken Williams Composer
Ruben Studdard Arranger, Composer
Jorge Vivo Engineer
Bryan Todd Vocal Producer
Toby Gad Composer
Jochem van der Saag Arranger, Programming, Producer, Engineer, drum programming, Sound Design
Michael Barry Reid Composer
Mike Reid Composer
Ken Williams Composer
John Jackson Arranger, Producer, Engineer, Vocal Engineer
Tobias Gad Composer
James Ralph Bailey Composer
Kenneth Gamble Composer
Larry Whit Engineer
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