Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Gary King - Songs From The Black Book - 2006 - Hear Me Sing Records

I have only become aware of this remarkable and refreshing album from Gary King. Released in 2006, this artist draws together a really heady mix of styles that have been the foundation and tapestry of his life, and packed them together in one smart bundle of soulful and jazzy sounds which possess various different undercurrents and accents. Vocally I am reminded of singers such as Tuomo or Remy Shand, and musically the mix is very much packed with real instruments and lush, intricate sounds that offer the listener a really fresh, different and alternative sound to what the mainstream are forcing upon us. Not beating about the bush, I rate this album as excellent and a very essential item. Gary King does not fail me on any track, and I just know that one listen to his songs on CD Baby and you will be adding the CD into your cart.

An acoustic guitar gently strums with a warm flow and reminds me of vintage Jon Lucien. Then the warm Fender Rhodes dreamily appear and Gary's soulful vocals make the set complete. This excellent track is followed by others of equal measure and stature; "Missing U 2 Long" will teach a few more established names a few lessons, and the likes of Maxwell would do well noting this kind of style. Gary uses an electric bass to spine-tingling effect here and really and truly gives the song a real edge. An early 70s sounding "Victim Of Ur Love" will appeal to the more soulful leanings of, say, Van Hunt and the well-crafted and spine-tinglingly delivered "All The Love In The World" should, if you possess any soul at all, floor you completely. You should also gravitate towards the horn-filled 70s number "Crayons". Songs like this are a complete breath of fresh air, and like other massive - yet criminally undervalued - artists Gary is not afraid to take songwriting and lyrics 'out of the box' into more interesting and less contrived territory. This is a very rare and special talent. We all love boy / girl love songs, don't we BUT Gary takes these concepts and uses abstract ideas to give them a new perspective. Sheer genius. The slow smoky jazz of "Lady Love" is simply awesome, and the arrangement would be one to make Will Downing proud. He almost has a flavour of Donny Hathaway makes me shiver I can tell you. I implore you to check out this CD as it really is a gem of an album.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe