Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Phil Perry - Ready For Love - 2008 - Shanachie

This is the most substantial and consistent album that Phil Perry has ever recorded. Phil Perry, for me, is a member of a very exclusive club – where the membership criteria is so stringent and strict. Phil is one of THE most instantly recognisable voices in music, and his uniqueness, quality-led instincts and commitment to artistry in its purest form has earned him a place there. This, his third album for Shanachie Records is easily one of his best, and easily the best that he has recorded on that imprint. “Ready For Love” is an album that I was immediately hopping up and down about. Every track is a winner and not only are the vocals exquisitely laid down as expected, but the musical accompaniment is spot-on. The instrumentation is real, the musicians at the top of their game, and the mood is hushed, warm and extremely comfortable. Phil and the gang wrap you in their warm musical blanket and I cannot applaud all concerned enough for this set.

I won't go on about every track, but will say that the quality will stand up for itself. You are going to be hit with the impact of “Desire” and will be sold within moments. Follow that up with the KILLER “Ready For Love” and you should be gasping for breath! This is SUPERB! Soulful, deep and with a hint of jazz. Fans of Will Downing will musically appreciate “Shine On Me”, the piano is very much in the style of Ronnie Foster, and the chugging rhythm whisks us back to the heady days of summers past. “Another Place Another Time” is gorgeous – just listen to it. This would not be out of place on his classy GRP albums. Neither would “The Shelter Of Your Heart” to be honest. I really love “Why Why Why” with its funky 70s Fantasy flavour with summery vibes, flute and sax. The female vocal on here is also excellent. Great work, yet again. The sheer lushness of “Melody Of Love” is pure class. Real instruments, strings, the lot AND Phil Perry giving us his perfect vocal performance. This talent is undiminished, and like a fine wine, matures better as the years go by. The final cut, “The Strings Of Love”, with its goose-bump making vocal harmonies and sax brings this amazing album to an all-too-early close and we can truly appreciate the depth and power of this man's ability. All parties concerned with this album need to take a standing ovation. A soulful jazz masterpiece for 2008.

Barry Towler