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Mary Ann Redmond: Prisoner of the Heart

Don’t be surprised if Mary Ann Redmond’s singularly dynamic Prisoner of the Heart (Q&W) invokes a powerful dose of deja vu. The album, newly remastered, resequenced and repackaged, was first released nearly a decade ago, well before Redmond had become D.C.’s favorite soul sister and queen of the Wammies (Washington Area Music Awards). It’s startling when the petite blonde with the perky smile opens her mouth and out pours an amalgam of Gladys Knight, Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin. Her shrewd selection of covers extends from a scorching “Since I Fell For You” and an incandescent “You Send Me” to an empowering “Many Rivers to Cross” that echoes Turner at her self-sufficient, stilettoed best. Equally admirable are Redmond’s own compositions, which fill half the album. “Ain’t It a Shame” suggests the fiery feistiness of Janis Joplin, “Blind to Love” recalls the power-pop swagger of Robert Palmer and “That’s All” (not to be confused with the mellow Nat “King” Cole chestnut) oozes with heartbreaking vulnerability. As Prisoner of the Heart proved ages ago, Redmond has long been ready to trade up from Wammies to Grammies.

Originally Published