Thursday, 12 February 2009

Mose Stovall - Groove U

Southern styles are not exactly my cup of tea, but as you have read recently, the likes of Omar Cunningham can have such a wide appeal that I am brought into the fold. I can say the same for this gentleman who fuses bass-driven lines, bluesy guitar and strong, soulful lyrics. The production is not on par with Omar's recent set but don't let this distract you. Relative to other Southern sets this is well recorded. Some southern material is full of energy and verve, it can really lift me up high and some songs on here do just that – the prime example being the excellent “Get Some Lovin'” which features some very tasty slap-bass to boot. The opening song is another prime example of a healthy fusion of Southern and mainstream styles; “Groove U Baby” utilises a Ronnie McNeir style groove and the southern, sprawling guitar adds some southern hot sauce. Bluesier guitar can be found on the excellent “Blue”which is a funky, guitar-led effort which is a cut I consider one of the highlights. I also love “Been There Done That” which almost starts off like George Benson's reading of Curtis Mayfield's “Let's Do It Again” from his 1988 set, “Twice The Love”. I would say that Mose's best vocal performance can be found here. This really is a top-draw track and one I would expect a certain Mr. Searling getting excited about! “Good Lovin'”kicks off with a strong blues lick, the melancholic lyrics and brooding piano is tempered by a downtempo beat and some excellent backing vocals. I immediately heard echoes of Willie Hutch when Mose starts singing on “Party”, though the recording does seem a bit overdone on this particular song which is a shame. If you like dreamier productions, then please check “Sneakin'”. The keys on here are reminiscent of those that Roger Troutman would have used. Again, this is a Guv'nor track and should please both fans of Southern style and wider soulful flavours. The Soulchoonz favorite “Dance” feels more like a mild stepper groove to me, again with a Willie Hutch vocal inflection making it yet another champion track. “Get Some Lovin'” is another track to raise a smile, having an 80s indie feel to it – this is the sort of track I would have bought from Rod Dearlove or John Anderson back in the day! The final cut is much slower and although good, I would have preferred it to have gone off with more of a bang! I prefer more uptempo Southern offerings on the whole and I am pleased that Mose, the new voice of Southern Soul and R&B has provided plenty of each. A worthy album.

Barry Towler

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