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Dorothy Leigh, A Second Chance
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September, 2011: A Second Chance review by Mike DeGagne
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Although it’s her debut release, Second Chance sounds like Dorothy Leigh has done it all before. Her gorgeous, soulful voice is both enchanting and powerful, while her words are uplifting, insightful, and contemplative…sometimes with all aspects in the same song. The musicians on Second Chance sound inspired and in the groove, while the backup singers produce more than enough depth for Leigh’s offerings. Made up of a little bit of jazz and soul, some adult contemporary, and even a hint of pop, Leigh’s album has a lot to offer.

The album’s opener, “Whenever We Touch”, contains a friendly, upbeat rhythm that is calm and relaxing. Clocking in at over seven minutes, there’s some convivial piano work in the middle that paints a bright picture on the overall feel-good mood of the song. The title track, “A Second Chance“, has a smooth, mature-style R&B groove to it, sounding a little bit Pointer Sisters, a little bit Spinners, and even a wee bit Diana Ross in its character and in its pop flow. Here, Leigh sings about how all of us have a second chance, and that we should take advantage of this to the fullest.

“Don’t Hang Up” is infused with spirit, with its lyrics surrounding the fact that one should never give up on what one believes in. The music is a pop/rock-soul number with a great beat and some wonderful work from the backup singers. “Home Again” slows things down, but has a heart-warming aura about it. Leigh sings about the return of a lover after a break up, and the joy and comfort of rediscovering someone after such a tribulation. Again, Leigh sounds encouraging and motivated through her strong vocal output. “Gone Away To Stay” is another song that deals with relationships, but this one has more pop charm and a wonderful eighties feel, especially due to the sprightly keyboard injections and bubbly style.

“Never Did I Stop loving You” is the album’s nicest surprise. The song has a catchy swing, swagger and sway to its rhythm, with a hint of cabaret thrown in for good measure. Decorated by some cool horn work exploding here and there, the track has Leigh sounding sexy and aloof, yet at the top of her game at the same time. “Don’t Call Me A Fool” is a reflective tune with a gospel-styled underlay. Some striking saxophone and more enlivened background singing uplifts this song more and more as it plays out.

“Confession” deals with being honest about the way you feel without hiding anything from anyone, while “Time To Go” is another break-up song with a positive spin, as the two parties agree that a split would be best…a good-natured split, that is.

A Second Chance not only has its songs to brag about, but also the production and the colorful arrangements. Leigh is the album’s producer, and to her credit, the songs stand together well as a complete package, but are powerful on their own as singles too. Leigh tackles quite a bit of ground in her lyrics from a thematic standpoint, but combined with her sweet vocal style, her subject matter is right in sync with her singing. The slower songs are sincerely felt, while the upbeat pieces are given added “oomph” by Leigh’s ardent and determined voice. There’s a great deal to choose from on A Second Chance, and best of all, none of them will disappoint.

Review by: Mike DeGagne
Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)


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