Monday, 9 February 2009

Marian Marie - Simply Me

This is a classy release and definitely one who likes their soul on the traditional side, with a hint of Gospel. This lovely Lady so reminds me, vocally, of Melissa Morgan. This is the type of classy, quality female vocalist who would have been given prominence at, say, Capitol with some heavy support from Beau Huggins, Kashif etc back in the 80s. A talent of Marian’s proportions deserves all the exposure and fanfare possible: the album is SOLID. The set is mingled in with some interesting conversational interludes about love and relationships. I think it’s interesting to hear what a woman thinks, and an excellent insight into this Lady’s philosophy can be heard here. The opening song is sheer class. The intro is pure Hush Productions, late 80s style, leading into the delicious mid pacer “Let’s Talk About Love”. Soul music in 2008 rarely gets better than this. “Supernatural Love” also reaches the parts today’s R&B cannot reach. The beats are programmed, the piano interspersed and the baseline infectious. The excellent funky guitar works well atop this groove, and the female harmonies are second to none. “I’m So Hurt” is one of the most contemporary pieces on here, but definitely more at the classier end of the market, so do not discount it. “Never Should Have Let Me Go” has a hint of Babyface, and the synth melts into the acoustic guitar and keys. I have to say however much I enjoy the CD as a whole there are 3 standout cuts lined up in a row that I really must draw your attention to. First up is the ballad, “Should We Try” which is Melissa Morgan through and through and is ESSENTIAL. The deliberately ethereal Steinway Grand Piano and backing vocals are enough to make the hair on your arms stand up. Following this is the equally exalted cut, the chilled and cool “Song For My Brothas” and the winner of all has to be the Inspirational “What Do You Do?” which gets my goose bumps going. This has a classic 80s Jam & Lewis feel to it. The strong piano led groove is underpinned by an eerie and soulful synth and finger-clicking beat, again, the harmonies are top-notch. I love this song to pieces and cannot stop playing it…real soul at its very best! “What Is Going On” appears in 3 versions and all three are great, albeit variations on a theme. Even the rap version is good; the wordsmith is obviously intelligent, the lyrics are socially conscious and pertinent for today. A solid album. As far as I am concerned a ‘No Risk Disc”.

Barry Towler

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