Thursday, 12 February 2009

Omar Cunningham

This gentleman is a real talent and easily embraces a traditional, Southern flavour along with a more contemporary edge which is enough to keep fans of Willie Clayton, Lattimore, Johnnie Taylor happy, as well as those who may lean towards John Legend or Calvin Richardson. This is no bad thing, and over the years Omar has fostered this approach and I feel has delivered his best album to date. Those that love what could be termed 'real soul' should be checking this set out ASAP. Following the intro is a KILLER cut called “That's My Jam”. Imagine one of Gerald Levert's best grooves and you are not too far away from what we have here. I cannot stop playing this song! Likewise with the Willie Clayton-like “My Life”which beautifully addresses the love within his own family and his own life. Speaking as I was earlier about John Legend, please check out the superb “By My Side” which will seriously do the business for you.

“This Old Music” is also a cracker – it explains exactly what is so good about soul music. I know exactly what he means about the warm breeze blowing through the leaves and Al Green on the airwaves. Al's new CD was recorded just for a summer's day! Perfect! Another song which can be included into the 'great for a summer's day' category is the superb midtempo number “The Right Woman”. For Southern lovers, with a hint of the blues, is “Check To Check 2008” which would not be out of place on a Willie Clayton album. The bill collectors may keep on coming to your door, Omar, but your quality tunes keep on coming to our attention! The guitar licks and beats do a lot to bring life to Omar's edgy vocals on “If You Want Me”, the guitar really draws us in – the lick is an hypnotic one. Omar's passion shines throughout this song making this s definite highlight. Another quality groove is the melancholic “Where Would I Be” which, musically, is totally modern in style but has southern leanings lyrically. This shows how the man can intertwine both styles seamlessley and effortlessly. His strongest set to date and one for a ever-increasing fanbase.

Barry Towler

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