“Love & Conflict” by Martha Wash
Purple roses can symbolize royalty or splendor. It’s only fitting then, that legendary singer Martha Wash’s own record label is called Purple Rose Records. Wash’s third solo album, and second on Purple Rose Records is out now and it’s called Love & Conflict. Featuring eight tracks worthy to go head-to-toe with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Donna Summer, Whitney Houston and Ella Fitzgerald, Wash rises to her rightful throne amongst these iconic singers. Don’t recognize her name? Well, then just wait, you will certainly recognize her voice.
Prior to Love & Conflict, Wash has been serenading crowds and audiences since her tenure in her San Francisco church choir. In 1976 she auditioned for disco great, Sylvester and the rest is history. Then in 1982, Wash a member of the duo Two Tons of Fun changed their name to The Weather Girls and scored a hot hit with “It’s Raining Men”. By the late 80s and early 90s, Wash would continue to contribute backing vocals, and her voice can be heard in the monster hit “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” from C + C Music Factory, and a slew of singles from Black Box. Wash had established her voice as golden when it came to R&B, pop and dance-flavored singles. In Love & Conflict, she brings that arsenal with her, but she also brings the grace and majesty of jazz and gospel.
I think that’s what makes Wash so special. She can easily bring her voice to a variety of genres and she never loses her creditability (not that one genre is more credible than others). She can entertain just as much as she can give you that emotional shot that transports you to a point in your life where you felt most vulnerable. Because you can feel that she’s had the same experience. Wash has 15 No. 1 dance singles to her name, but her voice can easily bring you to tears of joy just as much as she can make you want to get your groove going.
PURPLE ROSE RECORDS: http://www.purpleroserecords.com/
She’s happy and encouraging in “Glamour Flows”, just as she’s positive in “Honey My Friend” and “Rise and Shine”. Where she takes the listener in “Like Fire” has a more stoic approach. She’s more serious, sharing her wisdom. This had many more remnants of jazz and gospel that the others. In “Flowers Blossom” she not only continues this idea of growing (she uses the analogy of flowers and even mentions purples roses at one point in the album) and this made me think that someone of her stature and her station has seen quite a bit. She’s learned a lot, but she’s still learning and evolving. If I had to pinpoint a favorite, then “Soaring Free” is at the top of my list. The jazz music bed is superb, and her voice is just perfect. Her tenure in the business is one thing on paper, but to listen to her voice, one would think she’s just starting her career and has won the lottery. There is a whole lotta love in her spirit and she definitely evokes the compassion to her listener.