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Thirty-two years after they split, Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx, and Sarah Dash are back--and somehow it works!

Rarely when groups reunite do they live up to the output of their heyday (Eagles, anyone?). Luckily, Labelle has steered clear of the dreaded reunion blues to give the world Back to Now. Thirty-two years after they split, Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx, and Sarah Dash are back with feathers, glitter, and “Lady Marmalade” ’tude in tow. Hendryx is still at Labelle’s helm, writing or co-writing 7 of the 10 tracks here. The opener, “Candlelight,” finds Patti LaBelle’s expansive, steely voice at its soulful finest. Unfortunately, “Rollout,” produced by and featuring Wyclef Jean, is a pop-crap clunker⎯an obvious effort to get the Rihanna-buying public interested in Labelle. Highlights are slow songs “Superlover,” “Without You in My Life,” and “Dear Rosa,” and the funky, soul-fueled rocker “System.” “How Long” is a flat-out dance number, and a cover of Cole Porter’s classic “Miss Otis Regrets,” closes the album. Welcome back, ladies. Way to show all those imitation R&B, pop-tart hos how it’s really done.