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Record Review

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Soul diva Angie Stone -- with her full-figured look and romantic sensibility -- has built a career belting out songs that are reminiscent of the old-school soul found on dusty eight tracks and in basement vinyl collections. She's weathered adversity, such as flippant commentary about her weight and marketability, and her albums have endured far better than the hit singles of many of the reigning hip-hop-soul princesses and thug misses.

As comforting as sweet tea on Grandma's back porch, and as endearing as impromptu "Soul Train" lines at the family barbecue, Stone's third album, Stone Love, continues her winning trend by delivering smooth R&B and joyful testimony. The love fest features many highlights, including "I Wanna Thank Ya," crafted by ATL producer Jazze Pha. Even though guest rapper Snoop Dogg initially feels like an odd bedfellow on this summer jam, he and the seasoned Stone deftly fuse Westside cool and down-home wails. Other collaborations with Marsha Ambrosius, from the neo-soul duo Floetry, on the sista-girl anthem "My Man," and '70s Miami soul legend Betty Wright on the throwback track "That Kind of Love" work as well. But the album's standout track is "U-Haul" on which Stone casts off an unworthy suitor over Missy Elliott's head nodding production.


Angie Stone performs as part of SoulFest 2004 at the Green Lot at Turner Field Sat., Sept. 4, 2 p.m. $45-$60.

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