Thursday, 5 February 2009

Ann Nesby - This Is Love - Shanachie

The ever-wonderful Ann Nesby is real soul heroine. Thos who truly know soul music cherish her work with the Sounds Of Blackness and rate her Perspective LP ’I’m Here For You’ as a masterpiece. The general feeling, though, is that since that milestone, the lady’s not quite fully delivered again. Yes we’ve had odd tracks (’Put In On Paper’ for instance) and uplifting gospel dance workouts, but I for one have longed for another truly defining soul album and , hallelujah, at last its here. The ever-dependable Shanachie label have let Ann loose on a whole bunch of brand new songs and with producers Jay Isaac, Roosevelt Williams and Darnell Davis we’ve got another defining masterpiece on our hands. From start to finish ‘This Is Love’ is stuffed with quality soul music and there’s truly something for everybody here. For modern room people there’s the year’s best cut – ‘I Can’t Explain’. It’s taught and tight, the beats are absolutely perfect; the string fills are a delight ; and the dramatic pauses are just right – and I haven’t mentioned THE voice yet. For those who prefer the steppers beats, there’s the predictably named ‘Step’, while if you want high-energy dance there's the supercharged ‘Its So Easy Lovin’ You’. But to hear the true majesty of Ms. N’s vocal you’ll need to hits the ballads. ‘I Apologise’ is as good as anything Aretha recorded at her peak; Special Occasion’ has a real jazzy feel to it; while on the closer ‘See U Cry’ there’s an almost country feel. You know people often complain that real soul music’s not being made anymore – well here’s the album to prove them wrong. ‘This Is Love’ is sublime modern soul – with the emphasis on that second word and in ‘I Can’t Explain it’ we have one of the year’s great anthems.

Bill Buckley

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