Thursday, 12 February 2009

Lamone - Eclectically Speaking

Lamone is known for his recent excellent vocal work with Najee, and has also toured extensively with him worldwide. Lamone hits us full on with a bouncy set of modern, accessible R&B Soul with a hint of funk, jazz and even...rock! The album works for me, and I cannot emphasise enough that this album is very worthwhile. Vocally I hear touches of 80s Soulster, Frederick, and Skip Martin in places. The opening song is very much in a falsetto mode a la David Lasley and the dreamy keys are worthy of Lonnie Liston Smith. The beats, slightly Hip Hop, and the tinkling ivories and haunting synth pitch this tasty appetiser for the rest that you will soon discover. Track three opens up with a very urban flava BUT do not allow that finger to hit the skip button – and this is coming from an old stick-in-the-mud like me! LOL. The groove is infectious, the rhythm feel-good, and the backing vocals similar to those on track one – in the style of Chuckii Booker. Songs like this sit very well in both quality and urban arenas, and suggest to me that the man not only his head screwed on, but is malleable enough to deal admirably with both camps and satisfy both. Hey, even the rap in this song does not faze me. After all, not all rap is bad is it?!
What I also appreciate is the man's taste. This is the first time – if memory serves me right – that Sharon Bryant's “Foolish Heart” has been covered! The man obviously has taste AND knows a good tune when he hears one. Two thumbs up for this, Lamone! Class, class, class. The dancers work very well as you will hear, and for me the ballads also succeed too. “You Should Be Mine”, “Sending A Rose” and the gorgeous 70s sounding “Too Much Heaven” are just fantastic! The man tips his head towards the Philly sound and smiles favourably on the likes of Thom Bell, Bobby Eli, Norman Harris and Will Hart. The melody is, however a little on the Bee Gees side BUT do not overlook. I actually LOVE the Bee Gees, so that may come as a surprise to you! LOL. “Floating” may be more to your taste and why not? Its warm, summery and utterly delicious. I like the teasing guitar that he uses here...the beats and tone is rather what you would expect from a Ronald Isley / R Kelly collaboration but with that Frederick / Skip martin take. Very nice indeed, and I must say that should I have any doubts about the veracity of soul music in 2008 then I need look no further than the likes of Lamone.

Barry Towler

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