NEW YORK (Top40 Charts/ Sony Legacy) - "LIVE IN WASHINGTON, D.C. is a stirring celebration of Patti's love of those in love with her. We've patiently waited for this concert
The electrifying performance of "If You Don't Know Me By Now" that was delivered by two-time Grammy Award winner Patti Labelle at the opening of the 2008 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame ceremony brought the entire house to its feet with a well-earned standing ovation.
"If You Don't Know Me By Now" not only set the tone for the evening, but also underscored her decades-long relationship with Philadelphia International founders, producers and songwriters (and fellow Philadelphians) Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, as Patti illuminated the classic 1972 hit by PIR's Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, a long-time staple of her live performance sets.
Turning back the clock nearly three decades to a previously unreleased concert by Patti Labelle in 1982, "If You Don't Know Me By Now" is now a center�piece of LIVE IN WASHINGTON, D.C., which takes its rightful place in Patti's discography as her earliest live recording, after she began her solo career five years before.
LIVE IN WASHINGTON, D.C. was produced by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff (who also serve as executive producers). This newly discovered treasure will arrive in stores June 10th on Philadelphia International/Legacy, a division of SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAIN�MENT.
Following the Overture, the concert takes off. In the words of liner notes writer David Nathan (aka The British Ambassador of Soul), "From the first sirenlike swoop of 'The Spirit's In It,' Patti wrapped her everlasting arms around the crowd, to its delirious delight."
The song, a Kenny Gamble and Cecil Womack composition, was the title tune opening track of The Spirit's In It, Patti's first album for Philadelphia International in 1981. That album - and this LIVE IN WASHINGTON, D.C. concert - close with the song that won diva status for Patti starting in the '80s, her show-stopping version of Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg's standard, "Over The Rainbow."
Patti's concert program was, indeed, a tour de force from beginning to end. In 1982, many fans were still familiar with 1979's It's Alright With Me, her third solo album on Epic Records, produced by Skip Scarborough. Four songs on LIVE IN WASHINGTON, D.C. come from that LP, including "My Best Was Good Enough" (written by Scarborough) and "Come What May" (by '70s/'80s hitmaker David Lasley).
Also from It's Alright With Me, "Music Is My Way of Life" and the album title tune, "It's Alright With Me," are worked into a medley with "What Can I Do For You." The latter was one of several songs that Patti held over from her time with supergroup LaBelle, from their 1974 album, Nightbirds. No Patti Labelle concert would be complete without another pair of LaBelle favorites, 1975's career-defining worldwide hit "Lady Marmalade," and 1976's "Isn't It A Shame" (written by Hollywood composer Randy Edelman, and covered that same year by Shirley Bassey).
Patti Labelle was her self-titled debut solo album on Epic Records in 1977, and it is the source of two songs on LIVE IN WASHINGTON, D.C., "Joy To Have Your Love" and "You Are My Friend." Both songs were co-written by keyboardist James (Budd) Ellison, who became Patti's musical director. Ellison was also the co-writer of "What Can I Do For You," with guitarist and backup singer Edward Batts, one of the eight top-notch musicians heard on this brilliant concert set.
"If You Don't Know Me By Now," Nathan writes, "was particularly poignant, a dynamic demonstration of the subtleties that make Patti such an exceptional gospel-rooted singer." Interestingly, she did not get around to recording the song until 1985, on her third and final PIR album, simply titled Patti.
LIVE IN WASHINGTON, D.C. comes to an emotional climax with "Over The Rainbow," (in Nathan's words) "bringing the congregation to its feet and proving why Patti remains our beloved Mother Earth."