Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Chad Borja - Show Me The Way - 2000 - Warner Phillippenes

Many I have to thank my good friend, Richard Busiakiewicz, for originally alerting me to this GEM of a soul CD back in 2003. If not for him this album and the gorgeous tracks contained therein would have never been known to me in a million years. I cannot thank him enough for this exposé. The reason for this is because this was only released in the Philippines!!! However, there are outlets in the US via the Internet, which have this so fear not! Hailing from the same location as the beautiful Kuh Ledisma, Chad Borja is in the bag that I consider Sophistisoul. Lovers of the quality soul flavours of the late 80s and early 90s will want this CD for definite. I was stopped in my tracks by "Let Your Love Inside" – I can honestly say that I have woken up in the middle of the night with this song in my head and I simply cannot get enough of it. If you love the breezy ballad / midtempo offerings of Barry J. Eastmond and the like then you will die for this song. In fact, a close comparison would be a heady mix of Chapter 8, Al Jarreau’s "Tomorrow Today" album or even the blissful material on Ricky Lawson’s 1999 CD, "Ricky Lawson & Friends".

Why on earth was this particular CD not released in America? "Let My Love Inside" is such a happy, sublime song with Chad’s mega-soulful vocals really in command over the lush instrumentation. Jap-Jazz keyboard legend Yutaka has produced this CD and has done a fantastic job of giving the man a broad appeal with his native homeland and the wider world with compositions that are in Chad’s own tongue, as well as English. Those guesting on the CD, and offering musical support should give an indication of the calibre of this CD. Kevyn Lattau offers her vocal talent, Scott Mayo appears on sax, Bunny Hull composes and Valerie Pinkston of Chapter 8 and Arnold McCuller add their vocal skills. Please give a listen to "Someone" which is an excellent cover version of the Jay Graydon penned song from El DeBarge’s first solo Gordy album back in 1986. This is a blistering version that remains true to the original and is yet struck in its own quality mould. Great stuff, and one that would be MASSIVE on radio. The other songs I also like, but for some these may be considered too MOR orientated for some listeners. Myself, I happen to like them, especially the strong duet between Chad and the tasty Kuh Ledisma. "Summer Without You" has great vocal interplay and D-Macon (of "Falling" fame) is a close vocal comparison for Chad on this song. "If You Walked Away" hits MOR territory but is the type of material that soul connoisseurs will still truly appreciate. If Peabo Bryson can do it with style then why not anyone else? OK, so this CD is obscure and straight of the blue but I assure you that you do not want to miss this one. Available as a download from Amazon!

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe