Thursday, 5 February 2009

James Ingram - Always You (re-issue) - Wounded Bird

This album was released with little fanfare in the summer of 1993 and was, at best, ignored and at worst, panned. WHY? Firstly James Ingram is one of THE definitive male vocalists of all-time, of any musical genre and secondly, the legendary Thom Bell produced a number of songs which were beyond essential. If you loved Thom's sweet Philly styling with the likes of The Spinners, The Delfonoics, Johnny Mathis etc, then you will love this updated 90s sound. Equally lush and orchestrated but still 100% Thom Bell in each and every way. James' interpretation of the 1973 Mathis track “A Baby's Born” is just spine-tingling, and “This Is The Night” and “You Never Know What You Got” are just sublime. The full orchestration, sitar and hallmarks of everything that made the Philly era classic are all present and correct. “Any Kind Of Love” is a real groover complete with flute and horns, and straight out of the Bell & James era. Superb! Indeed, another top-draw producer is Keith Thomas – he of BeBe & CeCe Winans fame – and his inclusions here are also little short of breathtaking. Beware, and I mean SERIOUSLY NOT flick through tracks such as “Let Me Love You This Way” and “Always You” and dismiss them as schmaltz or Disney tunes. What a grave, grave error that would be. I guarantee that if you listen to them properly and absorb them they will absolutely devastate you. Thankfully, Wounded Bird Records stateside have seen fit to reissue this CD and give it a second chance. Make sure you check it out. Its more than a gem. It should be sat in with the Crown Jewels.

Barry Towler

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