Thursday, 12 February 2009

Glen Anthony Henry - Relax And Love

This is a set that will appeal to lovers of fast, furious no-nonsense funk. Glen Anthony Henry keeps the tempo up, he keeps the instruments real and the funk flows like lava from a huge great funky 70s soul volcano. Fans of the greats such as The Soul Searchers and the J.B.’s will feel at home with Glen’s style of music. Here we have 11 tracks of smouldering funk and midtempo grooves dealing with social issues and relationships, and the set was recorded live without any post-recording jiggery-pokery. I will, I am sure, be accused of having my fingers in my ears and backwards thinking BUT I really don’t think you can beat a real soul singer with real musicians, real songs with a message putting their heart and soul into it, can you? Check the fast and furious opening song “Fired Up” for starters. The prominent horns, funky bassline and groovy organ make this a fantastic cut. “Relax And Love” follows on more gently, containing some wah-wah guitar, flute and live drums. The arrangement is superb and Glen really is in tune with his backing band. “Doin’ It” is an early ‘70s styled gem of spiritual and mental positivity with plenty of flute and keyboard riffs. You’ll love it! Following this is the beautiful “I Don’t Know, and the angle that Glen takes on this track, as the whole album, is one of being REAL. The raw, unhindered instrumentation and the gritty, oft insightful, lyrics make this CD a memorable listen. This is far removed from the mainstream teenage-bedroom R&B fare and is yet another excellent release for us grown-up folks who know how to sort the wheat from the chaff, and know the difference between real soul and fad.
“Beautiful Vida” will underline what I have just said. The funky J.B. type groove is sensational and is one you can genuinely FEEL. Like James Brown, Glen is an exponent and minister of truth. A heady statement, but I feel it’s true nonetheless. The late 60s clattering beats of “Hope” is the perfect vehicle for this type of message, and proving that all is not too heavy Glen drops the tempo for the real winner “Go With It”. Real strings and flute win hands down again, and is a sure-fire winner in anyone’s book. The final track sees the return of the old squeezebox and organ, making it a VERY 1970s affair. This CD should, and deserves, to be MASSIVE. There is something for everyone on here, and the man has nothing to prove to me. He is the epitome of a real soul artist and carries the torch that most of today’s so-called R&B artists didn’t even know had been lit and carried in the first place. Highly recommended.

Barry Towler