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Gladys Knight and the Pips, "I Peel A Song, " Buddah BDS 5612 Like the single flower growing in the desert on the cover, of her new album, Gladys Knight continúes to blossom in the midst of what can get' to be a pretty arid scène. Her astounding talent is all the more evident since her departure from Motown - she is a diamond but they treated her like glass - and 1 think few would disagree with me that, along with Aretha Franklin and Esther Phillips, she is perhaps the pre-eminent R&B vocalist today. On "I Fee! A Song," the emphasis is on ballads. She gives a couple of Jim "Midnight Train To Georgia" Weatherly's tunes bet ter treatment than they deserve and manages to make "The Way We Were" slightly more palatable than did Barbra Streisand despite the schmaltz Gladys lards onto the introduction of this live cut. There are, however, three tunes fine, fast and funky and they make il all worthwhile tbr this dancer, The tille cut is Gladys as hot as she gets, dealing with tiie same theme the Manhattans scored with last year in "Duin' Fine Without You". She teams up with Bill Withers on his tune "Better You Go Your Way" which features some tasty anonymous guitar frills. And "Don 't Bum Down The Bridge" eookssolid straight through. Incidentaüy, the Pips are in fine voice throughout, making flashy good use, as uual. of each brief opportunity to punctuate Gladys' impassioned declamations, and the sound quality throughout is very high. Gladys' special talent is to make you feel the high song in your heart and she does that here more often than not.