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“Fool For You,” By Cee-Lo and Melanie Fiona: Honoring R&B’s Greatest Collaborators Past and Present!

November 14, 2011

I wanted to take a few minutes today to honor the efforts of a few of today’s singers who’ve given us beautiful duet performances.  I was listening to the Tom Joyner Morning Show one day (as usual) and I was blown away by the performance of Ledisi and Jaheim on the single, “Stay Together.”  The outcome of pairing their two voices is really quite beautiful, and it got me thinking about how many other great R&B duets were released this year.  Is it just me or have duets come back in style like leggings and booties (ankle boots, that is! lol)?

Take for example, the Stokley Williams (of my favorite boy band Mint Condition) and Kelly Price collabo on “Not My Daddy.”  I would never think that a title like that would represent good music, but in this case it does.  I’ve always loved Stokley’s voice (get it Mint Condition!);  Lord knows he tore it up when he recorded “Pretty Brown Eyes” back in ’91 (And he still does!  Check out Mint Condition on tour.)  And who could forget Kelly’s powerhouse vocals on “Friend of Mine?”  Bringing Stokley and Kelly together was a demonstration of sheer brilliance.  I actually heard about the song, before I ever heard it.  Naturally, I was very excited to hear it!  While I do really like the song and overall performance, I still think they could collaborate on some better material and produce something even greater.  It’s good, but not all that I want from them.  Something is missing for me.  Good job though guys.  I give you 8.25 out of 10!

"Not My Daddy"

Now, I think the best R&B collaboration out right now is by Cee-Lo and Melanie Fiona, “Fool For You.”  This goes straight to “that’s my jam!” status in my book.  Melanie’s soulful-sassy soprano was the perfect choice for this song.  Well-played Cee-Lo.  I love the vintage sound this piece boasts because is authentic; it’s not forced.  The retro-vibe is still a very refreshing sound on the airwaves, standing out from much of what we hear these days.  The song features great vocal performances by both Cee-Lo and Melanie Fiona: very passionate, but clean and controlled, & not -over-the-top-singing.  The lyrics describe with perfect precision for everyone what it means to really be in love.  People who’ve been there and those who long to be there know exactly what they mean.  (Happy sigh.)  If all music could be this good…  Perfect 10 for this one!

Fool For You

There are some other honorable mentions in this category:

I also really love Jill Scott and Anthony Hamilton’s “So In Love WithYou;” My favorite line is delivered by Jill…  “I see you across room  talking to some men. I love your mannerisms babe, the way you handle them.”   I’m with you Jilly; a man handling his business can be sooo sexy!  …especially if he is telling other men what to do!  SMH!  Not sure why, but it just does something to me…(pause…staring into space…girlish smiling……long happy sigh) “Ahem..okay, I’m back.”  LOL!!!

"So In Love"

I also need to mention Kem and Chrisette Michelle’s “If It’s Love.”  This is easy, R&B, love music at it’s best.  Chrisette brings a sweetness to this record.; she has an incredible ability to adapt her voice to whatever the song requires.  Her flawless tone quality reminds me of Anita Baker at times, on this record especially.  What she does on this song fits Kem’s laid-back but sexy style so well.  Well written music+Great singing=Enjoyable outcome.  It’s the kind of song you play when you’re chilling with the one you love.  No fuss. No plans.  Just together.


There is no way that I can give props to the New School’s successful efforts at duets without honoring the artistry of some of the pioneers. ..The Real Thing

First of all, Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell!  Lord knows they consistently put out beautiful duets back in the day:

  1. “Your Precious Love” (1967)
  2. “Aint No Mountain High Enough” (1967)
  3. “Aint Nothing Like the Real Thing” (1968) My FAVORITE!!!
  4. “You’re All I Need To Get By” (1968)

And that’s just to name a few!  By the way, did you know that all those Tammi and Marvin hit duets and several of their others were written by the ultimate couple and songwriting team, Ashford and Simpson!  What a great pair they are!  Their own duet, “Solid” also deserves mentioning!  It has such a stand-out and unique sound.  Nick Ashford died in August of this year.  May he rest in peace.

Sold As A Rock!

Now before I bore you to death, let me list a few more of my all-time favorite R&B love song duets and bring this post to a close:

  • “The Closer I Get To You” by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway  (1978) (…beautifully redone by Beyonce and Luther Vandross, 2003)
  • “Reunited” by Peaches and Herb
  • “Endless Love” Diana Ross and Lionel Richie (1981) (Covered by Mariah Carey and Luther Vandross, 1994)
  • “If This World Were Mine” by Cheryl Lynn and Luther Vandross (1982) (originally recorded by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell) (1967)
  • “Slow Jam” by Midnight Star (1983)
  • “Tell Me If You Still Care” by SOS Band (1983)
  • “Secret Lovers,” by Atlantic Starr (1985)
  • “Weekend Girl” by SOS Band (1985)
  • “Saturday Love” by Cherelle and Alexander O’Neal
  • “Always” by Atlantic Starr (1987)
  • “Slow Jams” by Tamia and Babyface (Q’s Jook Joint, 1995)                        
  • “Nothing Even Matters” by Lauryn Hill and D’Angelo (1998)
  • “Spend My Life” by Tamia and Eric Benet (1999)
Did I miss any?  LOL!
This reflection on incredible vocal collaborations makes think about what awesome things two people can do when they come together on something.  My cousin said it this way referencing marriage as the ultimate collaboration: “When two people are together and on the same page, you can’t beat it.”
What’s your all-time favorite love song duet?
What are your thoughts on collaboration and cooperation?
Holla at me!  SPEAK!!!
–Ari Speaks
4 Comments leave one →
  1. Candy permalink
    November 15, 2011 10:03 AM

    One Sweet Day is another duet you left out LOL
    I’ll need to think of some other songs to add to the list.

    • November 16, 2011 9:50 AM

      Yes indeed! That is a good one, but I think they played that song&video so much back in ’95 that I eventually stopped liking the song…lol

      Btw…do you remember singing and making up a dance to Marvin and Tammi’s, “You’re All I Need To Get By” in your grandma’s dining room? LOL!

      • January 6, 2013 12:39 AM

        Cousin Arionne, I know two you definitely forgot: Rick James & Teena Marie – Fire & Desire and Avant & Tamia – My First Love.

        • January 7, 2013 10:47 PM

          Yes you are right!!! I forgot Lady T. and Rick!!! FYI–My First Love is by Avant and Keke Wyatt not Tamia… Thanks for stopping by!

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