Thursday, 5 February 2009

Phil Perry - A Mighty Love - Shanachie

I don’t know many modern soul fans who don’t dig Phil Perry. With a soul pedigree that goes back to the Montclairs, his solo sets are eagerly devoured by anyone with an ear for a truly unique soul voice. Latterly, Perry’s’ found a home with smooth-jazz label Shanachie, who now seem to specialize in allowing soul stars loose on their choice of cover versions under the supervision of producer Chris “Big Dog” Davis. Last year, Phil’s first Shanachie collection, ‘Classics’ was well-received by the modern soul crowd and this new 10 tracker maintains the quality. Like ‘Classics’, don’t come to this set expecting anything radical or mould-breaking. That’s not the game Shanachie are in. They know their market and that’s reflected in the song’s Phil’s chosen. By and large they’re classic pop-soul songs that will bring plenty of pleasant memories to forty somethings everywhere. Amongst the goodies are takes on Smokey’s ‘Just To See Her’ and the Spinners’ ‘Mighty Love’ on which Phil’s scatting almost out does Phillipe Wynne. My favourite cut on the set is a delightful version of the neglected Dionne Warwick song Déjà Vu’. The Isaac Hayes melody is a beauty and so well suited to Perry’ voice while there’s some great Davis piano too. On the downside I could have done without Christopher Cross’ ‘Ride Like The Wind’ ( a bit too AOR) and a Davis original’ Honor’ which comes on like an Earl Klugh vocal-guitar outtake. What holds the LP together though, is Perry’s wonderful emotive soul voice. It’s a thing of beauty and even on the fairly ordinary material it sparkles.

Bill Buckley

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