Teena Marie and her signature guitar have left the stage and took the last vestiges of my adolescence with her. The world of soul music always returned its love to Teena Mariebecause it sensed that her love was always deep, authentic and unbreakable — and never a love of what she could get out of the genre or what heights R&B could propel her to.
That’s why the “strangeness” in initially seeing a white musician signed to Motown and belting out the heartiest of soul chords dissolved quickly. Very quickly. Teena Marie said to the world that her lifelong marriage to Rhythm & Blues is as natural to her as breathing and blinking. And it came across with her music, especially her hit duets with label mate, lover and mentor Rick James on “Fire and Desire” and “Just a Sucker for Love.”