Tuesday, 17 February 2009

CJ Anthony - I Let Heaven Go - 2005 - CrDaJo

You will, of course, remember this great man from his superb 1988 LP, "Luv’s Invitation" for the whimsically titled KMA Records. If you loved that album then needless to say you will love this one. Chuckii Booker's input is nowhere in earshot of this album but the style and persona of the album is definitely in the same mould and naturally progresses from the 1988 album. This could, in fact, have been released in 1989 / 1990. There seems to be a personal theme running through this album and appears to be the catharsis of a soul who has lost a love and realised too late that he doesn’t miss the water ‘til the well runs dry. I am a sucker for ballads – especially melancholic ones – and the opening song hits the spot for me. I love the melody and eerie synth, although it does appear to be a little cramped or over produced on this particular song, although its slight oppressive saturation in sound adds credence to the pain of the lyric. Excellent. "I Want To Be" is a perfect vehicle for C.J.’s ultra-soulful style, and the synth again takes centre stage. The keyboard is really allowed to speak here, and again the man does the business.

Impressed as I was with these songs, track three really got me going. "Somebody Out There" is MAGICAL. This is the sort of groove ballad that I would have lapped up in the late 1980s, and still do today. It is warm, soulful and reassuring. Probably this set will be too ‘programmed’ for those who like the more organic stuff, and this isn’t a problem. I don’t actually have a problem with programming. As long as those who push buttons and what-have-you know what a melody or groove is. You Taught Me To Fly" is another VERY strong soul cut which will appeal to fans of his older work. If you have any sort of emotion and are a parent then you will not fail to be touched by "Bre Bre’s Song" which is a terribly poignant and beautiful song immaculately conceived and delivered. Such beautiful lyrics from the viewpoint of a loving and doting father. It also deals with the social issue of family breakdown, and is a song as much for children as it is for their warring parents. The splendid array of songs continues apace with the breezy "All I Know" which is a solid performance in the joys of discovering a new love. It isn’t ‘til track 8 that the tempo increases, but the Chuckii Booker influence is very strong and this renders "Runnin’ Back To You" as a must-repeat song on the CD player. The excellent jogger "What Will It Take" complete with Reindeer bells also deserves attention as it is another strong performance. The final two songs, "Let Me Show You" and "Pack Your Bags" also sit well with this reviewer and his appreciation of the late 80s. Please check CD Baby and give this a listen.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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