Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Marti Pellow - Moonlight Over Memphis - 2006 - Demon

No, I am not joking, this is Marti Pellow of Wet Wet Wet fame!!! Please do not overlook this SUPERB, soulful 2006 album as it contains one of my top tunes of 2006!!! Marti, again, hooked up with Willie Mitchell to create an album that any lover of Memphis soul would love.. Marti believes that this album is his most personal musical statement to date and that there have been NO compromises. Indeed Willie himself has said that as a boy Marti was a good singer but as a man his is a great singer. I certainly agree with this testament 100%. Marti makes a fantastic soul singer in the traditional blue-eyed mode, and joins other so-called pop artists Peter Cox and Will Young in an elite little group who get a lot of respect from me. I guess that if you loved the last three Blue Note albums that Al Green has made then you will love this also. The opening track is very strong indeed and I can easily see this merrily spinning around on my turntable with a Hi or Waylo label facing up. Marti’s vocals are dynamic, soulful, passionate and often intense. I can ask for nothing more than this. I think that this rates as one of the man’s best works. All the music, incidentally, is REAL and not synthesised.

Strings, horns and organ encapsulate the gentle and tender "Can’t Stop Loving You". I like this, although it does contain a modicum of cheese! I was NOT expecting the SUPERB ballad "It’s All About". Wow, what a stunner this is!!!! The opening 40 seconds killed me completely. Musically, this owes more to classic Philly a la Patti LaBelle / Dexter Wansel & Cynthia Biggs than Memphis. It's been over 2 years since I bought this CD and the track is played as often as any new favourite. The beautiful strings and dreamy piano that lull us into the track are added to by some delicious French horns and full strings and grand piano. Vocally Marti is atop the melody with a rare grace and smoothness. The chorus is BIG and DRAMATIC and very much would have been a big crossover hit in the days before most record buyers had been lobotomised. Showing us great flexibility, Marti inflects a Jazzy flavour in the luxurious "Our Love". Willie’s expertise is apparent on the excellent swayer ""And I Feel" and "How Much Love", "I Don’t Know Why" and "Searching For You" could easily be handled by Al Green, David Hudson or Syl Johnson. Many will be surprised how a white guy from the banks of the River Clyde in Glasgow can easily be at home along the banks of the Mississippi. Yet he does. Please do not overlook this album - Amazon have it filthy cheap! Criminal really, considering the quality here.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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