TINA TURNER > Private Dancer

You could feel the steam rising off the midnight concrete, the unspoken feral coil of restrained desire about to unleash. Tina Turner, easily rock’s sexiest woman, was on the verge of re-emerging with Private Dancer, already priming the pumps with a roiling take on the Temptations’ churning “Ball of Confusion.”Label: CAPITOL
Rating: ★★★★★

You could feel the steam rising off the midnight concrete, the unspoken feral coil of restrained desire about to unleash. Tina Turner, easily rock’s sexiest woman, was on the verge of re-emerging with Private Dancer, already priming the pumps with a roiling take on the Temptations’ churning “Ball of Confusion.”

It didn’t take long for Turner’s sexual kinetics to explode into something rife with raw desire and desperation. Not hers mind you, but any man within sounding distance. And with the exception of a beseeching take on Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” this was an album about r-e-s-p-e-c-t.

“What’s Love Got To Do With It,” the package’s lead single, with its reggae undertow was devoid of all sentimentality, while “Better Be Good To Me” was a staccato bit of how it’s gonna be if you want some-a Tina. Even “Steel Claw” and “Show Some Respect” laid it out there with no mess.

Frought with near-obsessive anguish, Anne Peebles “I Can’t Stand The Rain” became the anthem for the tortures we survive, while Turner wore Mark Knopfler’s “Private Dancer,” a murky exotic dancer’s proclamation of how life is with staggering honesty and unflinching pragmatism cloaked with dignity.

In a nod to her hypercharged past in the Ike & Tina Turner Review – where Creedence’s “Proud Mary” and Sly Stone’s “I Wanna Take You Higher” were calling cards, the gravel-voiced locomotive took on the Beatles’ “Help” in a flurry of rock squalor and sonic chaos and David Bowie’s taut “1984.”

It was one of the most charismatic comebacks of modern rock: a woman literally singing for her life, and flexing all the experience she’d gained on the chitlin circuit, Rolling Stones tours, in the studio with Phil Spector and her husband the legendarily abusive Ike. Like a phoenix she rose, and she burned proud-and set the entire globe ablaze doing it.