Personnel: Mariah Carey (vocals); Vernon Black (guitar); Belinda Whitney Barnett, Cecilia Hobbs-Gardner, Wince Garvey, Laura Corcos (strings); Walter Afanasieff, David Cole (piano); Dan Shea (harpsichord, harmonium); Ren Klyce (celeste, timpani, tubular bells); Randy Jackson (bass); Gigi Gonaway (drums); Sammy Figueroa (percussion); Patrique McMillan, Geno Morris, Kelly Price, Melanie Daniels, Peggy Harley, Liz Stewart, Spencer Washington, Henry Casper (background vocals).
Saturday Night Live Horns: George Young (alto saxophone); Lenny Pickett (tenor saxophone); Lew Delgatto (baritone saxophone); Earl Gardner (trumpet); Steve Turre (trombone).
Recorded live at Kaufman Astoria Studios, New York on March 16, 1992.
Recorded live for MTV's "Unplugged" program, this acoustic 1992 concert bears witness to Mariah's fantastic performance skills. Equipped with her astoundingly powerful, lovely pipes, Mariah pulls #1 singles and b-sides out of the studio bag and makes live magic of them. Particularly on the numbers with a gospel chorus behind her, it's clear during at even the poppiest moments that this woman testifies when she picks up the mic, with echoes of divas like Aretha Franklin and Mahalia Jackson in her riveting vibratos.
Surely another part of what enlivens concerts like this one so much is the fact that Mariah helped pen all but one song - The Jackson 5's "I'll Be There." Backed by a dynamic band and the heartthrob Trey Lorenz, Mariah lights this classic ablaze with feeling, further affirming her love for her roots while staying true to her own vocal personality. "If It's Over," co-written by Carole King, takes a more traditional R&B turn with the brassy groove of the Saturday Night Live Horns, while the hit "Vision Of Love" is just plain rapturous.
Spin (9/92, p.105) - Recommended
Entertainment Weekly (6/19/92, p.70) - "...the strongest, most genuinely musical record [Carey] has ever made...Mariah comes off as vocally phenomenal..." - Rating: B+
Village Voice (3/2/93, p.5) - Ranked #10 in the Village Voice's list of the 10 Best EPs Of 1992.