Wednesday, 18 February 2009

New Birth - Lifetime - 2005 - Stonehurst

New Birth, conceived by Harvey Fuqua of Motown fame in 1963 released their first LP on RCA in 1970, and in 2004 Leslie and Melvin Wilson stepped forward and delivered a set of QUALITY soul recordings that are not only very traditional but very Y2K too. There is nothing old or retro about this set, but neither is it bumbling about in hip-hop territory. I was hooked within seconds of track one and was in no doubt that this was a must-have set. We start out with a KILLER stepper, "Fun Is In The Chase", which reminds me greatly of the tunes that Brotherly Love effortlessly turn out. This is a gorgeous track with an irresistible and catchy melody. You will have this tune in your head and will not be able to let it go. Vocally, the Wilson brothers are SUPERB. Soulful, smooth, gritty and they hit the right notes as far as I am concerned. This is classic stuff, have no fear. The second track, "Workin’ On You" was very much (still is!) a favourite spin of mine. Again, the ability to hit me right in the "oh yes!" centre of the brain and heart is spot on again. This 80s styled ballad will definitely work on you and if by this time you are not convinced then I suggest you buy a pack of cotton wool buds!

Anyway, "Dream Merchant" is a nice floater, again reminiscent of Brotherly Love, but to be honest I much prefer the SUPERB "Ten Toes Up" which has hit the repeat play button more than once, I can tell you. This is not a cover of the Dazz Band song from 1995 but a seriously sexy and soulful new composition, which will more than serve its purpose in the old boudoir. The Frankie Beverly and Maze "Back In Stride" feel seriously pervades the opening moments of the excellent funker "Comin From All Ends". This is another happy vibe and sits very nicely, thank you very much, with the funky "Mo’ Deep" which has elements of Kleeer within the keyboards, and even a bit of Zapp within the beats. The style changes down a gear for the brilliant "You Know You Want Me" with its slap bass and 80s styled synth flourishes. Vocally the brothers are a fantastic mix of J. Blackfoot and H-Town, which means plenty of grit, guts and passion. "Hey Girl" is a blinding ballad which really is a more-ish number and you will know why within the first 30 seconds or so. If these songs are not impressive enough, please check out the wonderfully smooth jogger, "To The Light" which has a beautiful ethereal, magical quality to the vocals and the warm musical backdrop. This is a superb, positive and essential album and one that is a mandatory purchase.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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