Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Tony Fields - Elegant Lady

I get the feeling that 2008 is shaping up to be a very good year for good, old-fashioned soul music. Tony Fields’ CD is yet another quality release that I can do nought but highly recommend. The music is mainly real instruments with the odd programming and synthesiser, and one or two cuts hark back to the style of Ronnie McNeir. And, boy, I can tell you that there are a lot of highlights! I am totally enchanted with Tony’s vocals. Imagine a synthesis of Billy Griffin, Smokey Robinson and Chazz Dixon and somewhere in-between you will find Tony Fields. Tracks such as the funky opener “Creepin’ On The Down Low” and summery “New Girl In Town” will win a lot of hearts, especially the Smokey-ish latter cut. This really is quality music and reminds me of the best of the independent releases of late that Soulchoonz have covered. Songs like this really make me happy and should put a bounce in your step. My first jaw-dropper is the superb ballad “Maybe It’s You”, the acoustic guitar is beautifully placed and the haunting synth just registering in the background. This meters with Tony’s quivery, gentle vocal perfectly. I really cannot get enough of this man. Fans of Ronnie McNeir will appreciate the jaunty and synth-driven McNeir effort, “Elegant Lady” – possibly the best of this type of groove. “24-7-365” also hits the spot; not a cover of the old Keni Stevens song, but a fresh new song that utilised some brilliant early 80s keyboards and creates an expansive, laid-back groove. Wonderful! I was especially taken to the gentle samba of “I Should Have Left This Earth Before You”. This is a poignant, beautiful song that bravely deals with the grief of a father losing his daughter. The song moves me to tears. As a doting dad to a little girl myself, the topic of this song is enough to shake any dad to their core. I applaud the creativity of song writing on this song that is delivered as if he is talking to his daughter about her life. Simply touching, certainly not to be missed. Moving on, “When You Fall In Love” is ESSENTIAL. The keyboards that Tony employs here are straight out of the early-mid 1980s. 1979 – 1981 is one of my favourite periods and this could easily have a place within that era. I would rush out to buy this album for this song alone! I really love this album. It works on a variety of levels, its thought provoking, entertaining and sensitive. Let’s face it – its soul music. And nothing touches the heart like soul music, does it?

Barry Towler

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