Wednesday, 18 February 2009

The Longshot Sessions - The Soul Of RnB - 2005 - Da Man Records

I am really enthusiastic about this CD. It is a rich blend of steppers and ballads, steeped in a solid soul / funk tradition. The Longshot Sessions is a collaboration fronted by Dick Fowler, and Keith Stewart - a member of Heaven & Earth, as was contributor Dean Williams. The song that initially aroused my interest was “Step Wit Chu” – this song is FANTASTIC. A dirty, slinky and FUNKY stepper to savour – the beat is meaty, chunky and tough! Vocally this really does the business – imagine the lazy growl of Barry White and the deep plummeting depths of Isaac Hayes over a Soul II Soul styled beat. SUPERB!!! The vocalist, Mistah Llou, is one I would like to hear more of. KC Lee is a more smooth vocalist and his stepper “I Got Yo’ Back” almost falls into a 90s Jeff Redd category, so that is a definite bonus! Heaven & Earth, provide the vocals over the saxy “Can I”; aping some great dancefloor numbers from the past. The first ballad really does cut the mustard too and vocalist Dean Williams allows a little Southern grit to sneak in, and I get the impression that Dean could and really would like to really let rip big time!

There is an 80s good-time vibe with the Mikki Bleu-ish “Keep On Steppin’” featuring Marzette Griffith. I also feel a touch of Kashiff a la “Music From My Mind”. Dick Fowler offers a SUPERB ballad, “Whatever You Want”: the chilled muted trumpet and deep groove / synth is really a sound that I adore. Dick Fowler adds his own more than able vocal skills to the mix with “Spin Me” complete with funky, scratchy guitar and eerie synth. Soul man Marshall Titus crops up on the essential ballad, “Mo’ Better Love”, which could almost have been crafted with the late, great Luther Vandross in mind. Marshall sure knows how to handle the downtempo material, his agile vocals hint at a powerful energy behind the song. The real show stopper, as far as ballads go, is “Pu Tang”. The vocals from Attitude, Soul & Pride and are just amazing. I think of Barrington Scott Henderson on this gem. The deep, rich bass lines are sexy and the synth and keyboards really add some extra mystery to this most luscious of groves. The quivery, pleading, soaring vocals are laid down on top of this and raise this to essential status. This is a great CD, and available from CD Baby.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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