Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Larry Gold - Presents Don Cello And Friends - 2003 - Rapster

My favourite track of 2003 can be found on this album. But I will leave that ‘til last! For those who may not have realised Larry Gold is nothing short of a LEGEND. We especially know and love Larry from the Philadelphia Orchestra and TSOP working with such greats as MFSB and Teddy Pendergrass among others. That was then, but today Larry is the top cellist and THE string arranger of today; in-demand with a myriad of artists that stretch from today’s pop and rap icons, through to favourites such as Eric Benét, Erykah Badu and R Kelly. After a recording history of over 30 years Larry gave us his first solo album. This is not an album of retrospective instrumentals but is a CD that has its head in today, with a serious nod to the past. I will head you straight to the KILLER midtempo offering, "Loving You" featuring the brilliant vocals of Carol Riddick and she shines brightly on the soulful Philly head-nodder for 2003. The sadly missed Gerald Levert follows up with a passionate performance on the uptempo "Dance" which he co-wrote with Larry Gold and Bunny Sigler. This tapper is an excellent example of modern Philly soul / dance which should be more in abundance today. British poets Floetry add their magic to the laid-back groove of "And I Hope"; their spoken word and soft harmonies are perfect on this superb string-laden, philly guitar spiced jewel. Fans of Kindred The Family Soul will be pleased to see the inclusion of this fine, fine, pairing on their own ballad "All That You Are" which features some gorgeous strings.

Now for my favourite track! NOTHING on here can touch the BRILLIANCE of this track. "Can I" was the best soul record by far in 2003 for me … and what has come together on this recording is something so special that nothing I write can paint an adequate or realistic picture. The gorgeous music is straight from the heyday of Philadelphia International in the 1970s, the strings are unequalled, the musicians tender and strong and all this is topped off by the best performance I believe Bunny Sigler has delivered in years. If you love Philly classics such as Dexter Wansel’s "Holding On" and "One Million Miles From The Ground" then this is for YOU. I love this song to pieces and well up when I hear it. I cannot believe that this level of quality was being recorded in 2003 and I for one can not thank Larry and Bunny enough, but also the good people at BBE for releasing it here in the UK. And if I was not aghast from that song I was blown away by the final instrumental cut, simply titled "Outro". Again, this is CLASSIC piece of the 70s Philly sound cut this side of the Millennium and as a result is nothing short of awesome. Honestly, I was astounded by these two songs and am blown away by the sheer beauty of them. These are cherished tracks for me. There is nothing better for me than a fantastic string section and these two songs cannot be beaten for this. These songs are what we really, truly want. This is what real soul music is about, and if Gamble & Huff and Philadelphia International were still in business with MFSB today then this is what I should expect to hear. Beyond essential, please do not overlook this CD.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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