Friday, 20 February 2009

Eva Cassidy - No Boundaries - 2002 - Renata Music

"Whoooooa! Hold your horses!!!" you’re probably thinking. What’s this MOR white folk singer doing languishing amongst the great soul artists of Y2K on the Soulchoonz pages? Well, this Lady deserves accreditation for being more than a covers artist (albeit a classy one at any rate if that were the case.) Those who have a passion for strong jazz-fusion will remember Pieces Of A Dream’s "Goodbye Manhattan" and the strong vocalist who sang it. Yes, yes...Eva Cassidy. This Lady was a MASSIVE black music fan and loved Jazz, Gospel and R&B, and this is about the only album that showcases this love to the forefront. She even recorded a CD in 2001 with the great Chuck Brown! Come on, that's some bonus! This Lady was a massive talent who could turn her voice to anything and if you love quality jazzy soul a la Marilyn Scott or even recently reviewed Carol Duboc then boy, will you love this album!!! I love the whole album, and I know that Quality Time readers will love it too. Track one, "Emotional Step", is a beautiful gentle sax-opened swayer with an array of real instruments backing her up (the whole album runs in this fashion, incidentally) and Eva’s soulful, passionate voice soars like an eagle on it. If only the Lady had recorded more work like this instead of do endless covers of run-of-the-mill standards!

This awesome talent of hers explodes on the KILLER cut, "You Are" which is, for me, one of the top tunes of the last few years. As soon as I heard this (completely by accident, too) I was gobsmacked. Imagine a wonderful musical hybrid of
Patrick Moten and Michael J. Powell and Chapter 8, delivered with a gutsy, soulful delivery in the hybrid mode of Aretha Franklin and Teena Marie all rolled into one. This is better than anything a contemporary black artist has come up with. This is Chapter 8 material at its best, believe me! Talking of Aretha, "Natural Woman" is given a sensuous reading and is absolutely superb. For the jazzier ears comes "Little Children", a cut that is straight out of the Dianne Reeves songbook – 1990's "How Long" is a good comparison. Now, I heard this song years and years ago but I know not when. This socially conscious track is excellent and like all the songs on here, should have beeen given airplay by the likes of Solar Radio or Starpoint on release. "I’ve Got This Feeling" is another soulfully jazzy stormer, and I can hear the influence of Hiroshima’s Dan Kurimoto in the mix here. The upbeat "When Its Too Late" and the essential piano-led "On The Inside" complete this most essential album. And that’s exactly what it is, nothing more nothing less.

Barry Towler

The Vibe Scribe

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