Monday, 23 February 2009

Little Anthony & The Imperials - You'll Never Know

This wonderful album has blown me away. I did not expect Little Anthony and The Imperials to release a NEW album, let alone anything of this high standard. The set may be independent but the production quality and style is up there with the best, and if you adored the quality major label sounds of the late 80s – lush instrumentation and strong melodies then you, too, will be very much in love with this the album. Anthony Gourdine may be in his 60s but he not only looks fantastic, his vocals have IMPROVED! Hearing albums like this really makes me feel warm inside, and certain tracks on here brought a lump to my throat. When I hear tracks such as “Goin' Out Of My Head”, “You” or “You Never Know” then all is well in the world. Remember what I said about music making you feel good?! This set features 12 songs, all bar 4 being new and original songs. Anthony has returned to his classic 60s Teddy Randazzo songbook and has updated them for the 21st Century; producer Clarence Collins has done a phenomenal job. Jim Gilstrap steps into the mix too, and writes the bubbly opening song, “I Ain't Fallin'” which has proved popular on quality UK stations such as Solar. This is very much in the feel-good bag and gets my vote. Somewhere between Rance Allen and the Chestnut Brothers, the guys sound great. Their remake of “Hurt So Bad” is a KILLER. The muted trumpet and subtle synth that runs throughout the song ably supports the vocals. Will Downing would be proud of this as it's close to his current style. “Goin' Out Of My Head” is another quality cover version – a real makeover for 2008 – and “You Don't Fun” is a really contemporary cut, proving that the old groups can easily cut it along side the new jacks. In fact, even better I would say. Check out those harmonies! “Made A Wish” is great, but the 2 tracks that reduce me to a wreck are “You” and “You'll Never Know”. My God, what stunning tracks! Totally jaw-dropping. “You” could have been recorded for Capitol in 1988, and the latter song features Deniece Williams in a scintillating duet...Anthony lets rip and in places sounds like Willie Clayton. Nothing more to say but make this an essential purchase. Outstanding.

Barry Towler