Patti LaBelle

Soul music is always a bit more enjoyable when Patti LaBelle is singing it. For more than 40 years she's been contributing hits to America's musical lexicon — first as a member of the Ordettes, then Patti LaBelle and the Bluebells, then as the lead singer of LaBelle, and finally as a soloist. You'd think with so many twists and changes, her style would be hard to pin down, but sonically, she's the same Patti LaBelle she's always been. That is, ever since Blue Note Records made her adopt that stage name — her real name, Patsy Holt, wasn't sexy enough. We agree. Throughout her musical career, she's put out a long list of hits, from "Lady Marmalade" to the anthemic "I'm on My Own," and these days, she's known just as much for her famous cookbooks as for her singing. She released a new album, Miss Patti's Christmas, last week (hey, it's always good to be early), full of reinterpreted holiday standards. It's entirely produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (of Prince and Janet Jackson fame), and it's her first holiday album in nearly two decades. I don't think you'll have to worry about Miss Patti belting out "Deck the Halls" when she comes to Seminole Hard Rock this weekend, but even if she does, it will be the most soulful version you've ever heard. Crowd participation is always high at a Patti LaBelle show, so when she belts out, "What's my name?" have fun yelling back, "Patti, Patti!"

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Jonathan Cunningham