Thursday, 12 February 2009

Toni Redd - "N" The Key Of Redd

Yes!!!! In the immortal words of Chris Tarrant on TISWAS, “this is what they want!” - a classy, adult SOUL album aimed at the quality music lover. If you love Jean Carn's vocal phrasing then you will instantly understand where Toni Redd is coming from. Also, I am sure the late, great Phyllis Hyman is an influence as well. I guess having bandies these names about you must already feel that class is not up for debate here. The entire album is a must. Its only a 10-tracker, that I'll grant you BUT when given 10 solid tracks like this it absolutely outweighs this quibble. After all, years ago we only had about 8 tracks on an LP didn't we?! OK, track one then: “Anytime Of Day” is superb – that's that one sorted! Seriously, if you loved Margi Coleman's CD, “Margi” from way back in 1995 and would love something of a similar style then look no further than here. The following cut, “Holding On To Your Love” is equally wonderful. It has a jazzy GRP quality to it. There is no cheesy, cheap sequencer that can mar many an independent release, this is the real thing and it has to be said that the album stands head and shoulders over most others. George Duke sprang to mind with “I Apologize”. In fact, I can even feel the style of Michael J. Powell at play here – and the freshness of Khani Cole a la her “Places” album on top of that. “Love Is Gone” is a cracker, and I have to say that although I like her jazzy reading of “Sailing” you simply cannot beat the Christopher Cross original. “Thinking About You” has the musical traits of our very own beautiful Maysa, and the vocals again remind me of Jean Carn; this is a bubbly cut with a positive undercurrent. The brooding “Missing You” really could have been written for Phyllis Hyman; she certainly delivers it in such a style at any rate and if this was the case, then Phyllis would be impressed. I mentioned Maysa earlier, and it her song “I'm Changing” is painted Redd very nicely. I still prefer Maysa's original – and if you have not heard it then check out the Café All-Stars “Love Pages” CD from 2005 and that's where you'll find it. “Always There For Me” is a fair dancer and works OK, but I prefer the more melodic ballad “We Should Care” which is classy enough to be found tucked away on a Bobby Lyle or Norman Connors album. I am not sure who the male vocalist is but he sounds very much like Daryl Coley! This is a truly classy album and I expect many will knock it as it isn't uptempo enough or too 'old school'. You know, not everything has to be aimed at a dancefloor! Check out Toni Redd as she is the real deal. UNMISSABLE.

Barry Towler

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