Friday, 20 February 2009

Daniel Austin - Confidence In You - 2004 - Soul Space

2004 heralded this gem of a CD. Daniel Austin has a smooth, gentle, yet reassuringly sturdy approach - enough to handle the more club orientated material on here. I love my bedroom smoochers, but for me it is on this type of groove which Daniel especially excels. "Let Me In" is an instant winner and those who have approved of my recent Y2K reviews of Val Watson and the Bar-Kays will seriously like this song. Do not be put off by the rather passé turntable scratches on the outset - this leads us into the most tasty of steppers that takes us way back to the days when you did not have to take drugs to appreciate anything that is supposed to be dance music! "Something About You" will have the old toes tapping and the sound will remind you of the better dance tracks such as "Magic'" from Sean Oliver which I have covered on our 1990s pages. This is another soulful groover that will not disappoint. Those of you who have a liking for the Atlanta Artists sounds of Larry Blackmon and Cameo will connect with the rumbling Funk of the title song. I head straight back to 1986 with this song and I hear elements of Cashflow's "Mine All Mine" and Barbara Mitchell's "High On Love" within this track. I love this to bits and have it in heavy rotation at home and in the car.

As far as ballads are concerned, "Islands" with its jazzy saxophone courtesy of Henry Alexander is top-drawer indeed. Subtle, warm and summery this would not be out of place on an early 90s Najee / Vincent Henry album.
Definitely up my street is the gorgeous "Dreamer" which is infused with some funky slap bass and stabbing piano and would appeal more to lovers of quality late 80s jazzy soul material. "Fire And Ice" rates highly in my book also, and its racier, expansive feel is fresh with a jazzy streak. I could hear this track on a Bob Baldwin album or someone of that vein. In fact, I would say that Daniel has a shade of Porter Carroll Jr in his voice, as displayed in this song. "Haven't You Heard" is an 80s stepper that owes more to Prince than anything else, and isn't a bad track to boot. This CD is very well crafted and exceeds many independent sets of the day. Worth checking out.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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