Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Ellis Hall - The Spirit Lingers On...And On - 2005 Ellis Hall

This album was a breath of fresh air and is beautiful in its sheer simplicity and artistry powerful it's simple, uncomplicated approach. Ellis Hall has served up some delicious offerings over the years – the one that springs to mind most is his impressive version of “What Does It Take” on Kenny G’s “Duotones” album back in 1985, and “Suzanne” by 101 North (reviewed in our 80s section). Most of this CD is simply Ellis’ raw, powerful, soul ripping testifying vocals balanced with his piano. I am tempted to liken this man to the late, great Ray Charles. Believe me, this is no boring album. I love it to pieces, and it also happens to contain one of my tip-top tracks of the Y2K period, and guarantee that it will appeal to lovers of the Quiet Storm. The opening song complete with cheerful, jazzy piano and handclaps allows Ellis to showcase his ample vocals, along with some great backing and tambourine to complete the joyous mix. There is something very 80s about this, and its all in the vocals. I love this to death, and what a way to sweep away the cobwebs of a glum day at work! “Temptation” displays some wickedly balanced themes handled expertly with some very neat lyrics. He’s holding on longer than I ever could.

On “This Will Last Forever” Ellis is spot on, and you can hear the sheer love, energy and creativity being pummelled into the tinkling ivories. This is a seriously strong track, as is the wonderful “Why Should I Care” which deals with how life is, and how we look at it today. The opening salvo of “Nothing Can Bother Me Today” is VERY Take 6; this vocal beat box effect, piano and soaring, happy, uncomplicated vocals are amazing. This is just great and I think that if this song does not raise your spirits up then there must be something wrong with you! If you’re still not quite there, the finger-popping gaiety of “Sunny Days” will definitely boost your energy levels, as will “Victorious”. I am reminded of Brian McKnight with the gentle “What Will I Do” which is excellent. Now, I have come to what I consider the SLAYER song – “So Deep In Love”. I was simply blown out of the water. It grabs me right in the gut and chokes me up, and not many tracks nowadays do this. This song is so soulful it hurts, and the whole feel is QUALITY late 80s / early 90s soul resplendent with synth, guitar and – programmed – drums. It would not be out of place on, say, a Gerald McCauley produced album (see the 90s pages for my review of his set.) Please take a visit to CD Baby and seriously listen. If you love your ballads and love jams as much as I, then you just need this CD in your collection TODAY!

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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